Croatia Push Past Turkey

22.07.2009

By David Hein

Miro Bilan had 18 points and 16 rebounds and Bojan Bogdanovic poured in 18 points as Croatia advanced to the quarter-finals of the U20 European Championship with a 75-62 victory over Turkey.

Bogdanovic added eight rebounds and three assists while Karlo Vragovic scored 16 points for Croatia, who finished the qualifying round Group F with a 3-2 record.

Turkey dropped to 2-3 and had to wait for the outcomes of the final two contests Wednesday to see if they would reach the quarters. Ilkan Karaman, Can Ozcan and Birkan Batuk all scored 11 points while Melih Mahmutoglu had 10 points in a losing effort.

Neither side could take control in the first quarter with the biggest lead being three points for both teams as well as five ties until Turkey went ahead 16-12 after one period.

Bogdanovic began heating up in the second quarter, hitting seven points in a 15-4 Croatia start for a 27-20 advantage. The push continued and Bogdanovic nailed a three-pointer for a 35-23 lead, which Turkey trimmed to 35-26 at the break.

Early in the second half, Batuk hit back-to-back baskets to cut the deficit to 39-34. But Croatia answered with a 7-0 run for a 46-34 lead. Turkey did not give up with Ozcan nailing two three-balls to bring Ere Orhun's team within 50-45. And Batuk's trey had Turkey trailing just 54-48 after three quarters.

Erol Cinko drained a three-pointer to bring Turkey as close as 58-55 with five minutes left. But Bilan scored four straight points and Antonio Ostric knocked down two three-balls to increase the lead back to 73-59 and securing a spot in the quarters.


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