Croatia Seal It From Downtown
Antonio Boban and Matej Buovac came off the bench to score 19 of their combined 22 points in the fourth quarter to lead Croatia to a 78-72 victory over hosts Poland and take top honors in Group A of the U18 European Championship.
Boban had played just 20 seconds going into the fourth quarter and six minutes in the first two games of the tourament before nailing three three-pointers in the last five minutes to finish with 11 points.
Bouvac also had 11 points while Mislav Brzoja collected 22 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. Stipe Krstanovic contributed with 15 points, 11 rebounds and four steals for Croatia, who improved to 3-0 after making 12 of 32 (38 percent) three-pointers.
Poland dropped to 2-1 despite 17 points and 11 rebounds from Przemyslaw Karnowski while Mateusz Ponitka added 18 points and seven rebounds. Grzegorz Grochowski collected 12 points and eight assists and Michal Michalak had 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Poland jumped ahead 8-2 early but Croatia would not be intimated by the Polish crowd and evened the game at 18-18 before Poland used a 9-2 surge for a 27-20 lead after one quarter.
The hosts pushed the lead to eight points at 30-22 before Marko Ramljak scored seven points in a 12-2 Croatian run for a 34-32 advantage. Poland however scored the final five points for a 37-34 lead at the break.
Croatia used a 13-3 run to take a 53-50 advantage and led 53-51 after three quarters.
Boban hit a big trey to give Croatia a 62-55 lead midway through the fourth quarter and then hit back-to-back triples under the two-minute mark, the second giving Croatia a 73-67 lead with 1:09 remaining. And then Buovac made five of six free throws in the final 55 seconds to seal the win.