Defending Champs Cruise In Opener

18 July 2013
Bruno Zganec (Croatia)
Karlo Zganec paced Croatia with 19 points and nine boards

Croatia cruised to a comfortable win over Ukraine in the team's U18 European Championship opener, overcoming a scrappy first half to run out 81-49 winners.

Foul trouble and a near eight-minute stretch without a field goal saw Ukraine fall behind by double-digits in the second quarter, but a Croatian cold streak allowed Ukraine to cut a 13-point margin down to seven as both teams struggled with turnover issues and poor three-point shooting.

Croatia controlled the paint and used that advantage to raise its shooting percentage in the second half while Ukraine unsuccessfully launched shots from the perimeter, finishing the game with just one made three-point shot from 18 attempts.

The strong inside presence of Karlo Zganec (19 points, nine rebounds) and Marko Arapovic (ten points, 12 rebounds) helped Croatia to a 58-33 rebounding advantage while small forward Lovro Mazalin chipped in 14 points.

Oleksandr Kobets and Illya Sydorov led Ukraine with 12 points each.



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