By Jared Grellet
|Marek Zywert took Poland on his shoulders to go past Croatia and keep 5th place within reach |
Turning Point: Trailing by eight points with a minute-and-a-half gone in the final frame, Polish coach Arkadiusz Miloszewski calls a timeout. Following the timeout Poland go on a 20-3 scoring run to take control heading into the final minutes.
Game Hero: Marek Zywert. After scoring two points in the opening three frames, the nifty guard provides 15 points on the 20-3 run to set up the victory.
Stats Don't Lie: Poland go four-for-four from beyond the arc in the final quarter whilst Croatia hit one-of-four.
Marek Zywert has produced a stunning five minutes of basketball to take Poland past Croatia 82-76, and give his team a place in Sunday's fifth place classification game at the Dadu U16 European Championship Men.
With neither team giving an inch over the opening three quarters, it appeared that Croatia had their break when Emir Sabic landed a buzzer-beating three at the end of the third quarter to put his team up by five points going into the final frame.
Croatia then extended their lead to eight points, forcing a Polish timeout.
Following the timeout, Marek Zywert exploded, hitting from downtown three times in two-and-a-half minutes to provide his team with the win.
Before the game had even begun, Poland suffered a setback when starting center Filip Pruefer received a facial wound during the warm-up.
But it was unclear as the game progressed how much time Arkadiusz Miloszewski would have given the center as he instead opted to give his bench bigger minutes with nothing riding on the game.
His bench players repaid him, keeping Poland in touch going into the final frame before making way for their star players to get the job finished.
Wojciech Jakubiak was particularly impressive as his team's third option at guard, picking up seven points in the second quarter alone.
After relying on seven players in his team's quarter-final, Hrvoje Vlasic used a bigger rotation against Poland but was unable to get the same effectiveness from his back-up players who could only produce eight points.
Helping out Marek Zywert was his twin brother Kamil with 14 points and four assists. Grzegorz Kulka also scored 14 to go with seven rebounds.
Playing a lot less minutes than an evening earlier, Marko Arapovic was more effective, scoring 16 points while also picking up seven boards.
Luka Bozic topped scoring for Croatia with 17 points.