Delas Leads Croatia Past Ukraine
Mario Delas poured in 25 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in leading Croatia to an 88-76 victory over Ukraine to remain perfect at the U18 European Championship Men.
Toni Prostran added 21 points and Tomislav Zubcic scored 16 as Croatia are alone atop the Qualifying Round Group F.
Ukraine dropped to 0-3 and the group despite Oleksandr Gudkov coming off the bench for 14 points. Oleksandr Osnach scored 12 while Oleksandr Lypovyy, Andriy Lebedintsev and Ruslan Otverchenko all added 11 points.
Otverchenko tallied six points in pushing Ukraine ahead 11-5. Lypovyy then knocked down two long balls and Oleg Ruban's team led 17-9 midway through the first period. A Delas basket sparked a 16-0 Croatia surge over nearly five minutes for a 25-17 lead which was 27-20 after one period.
Otverchenko's three-ball started the second but Ivan Batur and Prostran answered with back-to-back treys to help push the advantage to 37-23. Ukraine would cut the deficit to six but trailed 41-31 at intermission.
Ukraine remained in the game in the first half of the third quarter with Osnach's basket trimming the deficit to 49-45. But Sven Smajlagic and Batur knocked down long ball and Delas made two baskets as Vladimir Vanjak's men closed the period on an 18-6 run for a 67-51 lead.
Reserve Leon Radosevic's second basket early in the fourth left Croatia ahead 76-55 with more than seven minutes left. However, Lebedintsev's three-ball sparked a 13-0 Ukraine run over nearly four minutes to close within 76-68.
Prostran hit back-to-back baskets and Delas scored yet again as Croatia built an insurmountable lead.