Italy Survive Croatia Scare

10.07.2007

Co-hosts Italy survived another scare in remaining perfect at the U20 European Championship Men with a 82-69 victory over Croatia on Tuesday.

Two nights after coming back from a 14-point second half deficit against Latvia, Pino Sacripanti's team needed a late 20-8 run to finish off the Croatians in Gorizia.

Giovanni Tomassini and Pietro Aradori each scored 17 points off the bench and Alberto Chiumenti added 10 points for Italy, who improved to 3-0 and share top honours in Group F with Spain.

After Croatia opened with the game's first four points, Italy reeled off 11 straight points in building a 20-17 first quarter lead.

The winners from Group D, Italy pushed the lead to 42-33 at the break and led 50-35 on Luigi Da Tome's alley-oop dunk with 7:24 left in the third.

Ante Tomic scored 13 of his game-high 24 points in an 18-5 run which concluded on Luka Drezga's three-pointer for a 55-53 Italy lead with 2:18 in the third.

Filip Vukicevic's free throw cut the lead to 62-61 with 8:10 remaining. But Croatia would get no closer for the rest of the night.

Tomassini drained two three-pointers to ignite the final 20-8 push to close the game.

Italy play Israel on Wednesday, knowing a victory would push them into Saturday's semi-finals. Croatia, who dropped to 0-3 next face Bulgaria.

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