U20 MEN DIVISION B
|Point guard Roko Rogic had 10 points for Croatia in the firendly win over Division A side Italy|
Croatia coach Niksa Bavcevic was all smiles after watching his players beat Italy in a battle of U20 sides.
The Croatians, relegated to Division B following their last-place finish in Bilbao last year, are eager to win promotion back to the top flight and a thoroughly convincing 95-82 victory over Italy, a team in Division A, bodes well.
The Division B event gets underway in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Thursday.
In the win over the Italians, forward Henrik Sirko had 15 points and guard Jere Vucica contributed 14.
Andrea Traini poured in 12 points in defeat for the Italians.
"I was happy with the players in this game," Bavcevic said.
"We played defense at a very high level, with the exception of relaxing at the end when the Italians scored easily."
Croatia had built an 81-55 advantage by the end of the third quarter.
"These guys deserve all the praise," the coach added.
"They played with heart and it was a true example of how everyone is fighting for the colors of their country."
Croatia will take on Belarus, Great Britain, Portugal and Denmark in Group C of the U20 European Championship Division B.
BULGARIA DOWN PORTUGUESE
Bulgaria won their tune-up for the U20 European Championship Division B against visiting Portugal this weekend, 81-71.
Pavlin Ivanov, the MVP of the U20 European Championship Division B last year, had 11 points for Bulgaria while Dimitar Dimitrov led the team with 14 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Bulgaria are hosting the U20 European Championship Division B and will play in Group A with Israel, the Slovak Republic and Austria.
The Portuguese will be in Group C with Great Britain, Croatia, Belarus and Denmark.