|Dario Saric once again proved his worth for the Croatians with 18 points 8 rebounds and 6 assists|
Croatia is still riding a good wave with a 72-61 win over Italy in the U16 European Championship at Osnovna Skola Jugoslavija in Bar, Montenegro on Friday afternoon.
The score improves Croatia's record to 2-0 while Italy fell to an even 1-1 before the last game in the Preliminary Round.
Tomorrow Croatia will take on Germany in hope to remain perfect, while Italy will face Serbia in a crucial game for both sides.
Mislav Brzoja was the top scorer of the winners with 17 points and added five steals, and was followed by Dario Saric who added 16 points, 8 rebounds, six assists and also six turnovers while Filip Bundovic scored 13 with nine rebounds.
Aristide Landi hit 15 points, all in the first half, and grabbed eight boards for Italy while Matteo Imbro added 14 points and six assists.
Italy was strong in the game, especially in the first half, but saw Croatia take the lead after the break, and hang on to it before extending it to double-digits right before the last buzzer.
Landi scored seven out of Italy's first nine points, and his team grabbed a 13-22 lead after eight minutes of playing time.
Saric stepped up as his team started to attack the rim, and finish their run after 12 points in a row, but Italy stayed focus and found their touch once more.
Landi kept his team up, and with the last bucket of the first half wrote a 33-34 Italian lead at the break.
The Italian big guy was silenced after the break, but for more than eight minutes it was still a close game and the lead changed hands every few minutes.
Bundovic and Saric joined forces from a 50-50 tie to score nine points in a row and make the first substantial gap in favor of their team now already inside the last quarter.
A bit more than three minutes with no points on either side played well for Croatia, before Saric with a three point play pushed the gap to 12 inside the last two minutes and put to an end to any hope of Italy for a comeback.