Croatia Prevail In Greek Double OT Drama

16 September 2013

EUROBASKET 2013

Turning Point: After Nikos Zisis missed a lay-up with 19 seconds remaining in second overtime, Bojan Bogdanovic sunk two free throws to give his team a four-point cushion, 90-86, with 17 seconds on the clock.

Game Hero: Bogdanovic struggled to find open looks and only had nine points during regulation, but drilled a triple 25 seconds from the end of first overtime to tie the scores at 77, and collected eight crucial points during the second extra period.
Stats Don't Lie: Croatia were guilty of committing 18 turnovers, 17 of those in regulation, but out-rebounded Greece 54-to-42 and their excellent defence kept the Greeks to just 35.1% shooting from the floor throughout the 50 minutes of the encounter.

Bojan Bogdanovic (Croatia)
Bojan Bogdanovic was well contained through regulation time, producing just nine points, but he cut loose in the added periods, adding 13 points to his tally

Croatia edged out Greece 92-88 after double overtime in a clash that featured 18 lead changes and saw the scores tied on 19 occasions, to clinch top spot in Group F and terminate the Hellenic side's EuroBasket 2013 campaign in the process.

It took longer than ever before in the tournament, 50 minutes of play time to be precise, but at the end of it Croatia had clinched their seventh consecutive victory and Greece were facing the gloomy reality of failing to reach the EuroBasket quarter-finals for the first time since 2001.

In a game where both sides worked on defence much harder than on the other end of the floor, Croatia's plan demanded their big guys to be extremely generous in giving help to their backcourt teammates, in order to prevent the Greek guards from penetrating.

"It is always the same when you play against Spanoulis and Zisis, there can be four-five pick and rolls on one possession," Croatia center Ante Tomic, who collected a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds, said after the long encounter was over.

"It's difficult to defend that for the entire game in a good way.

"We had some problems against it but that's normal, as 90% of their game is pick and roll and you need to stop most of that at least."

Croatia's biggest lead until late into second overtime was only six points, 49-43, and came courtesy of an 11-2 burst midway through the third period, as Dario Saric hit a mid-range jumper after an excellent spin move 4:01 from the third buzzer.

With 41 seconds left in the period, the Greeks would draw level once again, on a Bourousis lay-up, 49-49.

Greece's biggest lead all night was five points and was just as short-lived as Croatia's biggest lead, or as any other shorter lead all night.

"We didn't have the strength or the spark we had in previous games," Tomic explained.

4. Ante Tomic (Croatia)
"At the end we also had a lot, a lot of luck, and we won" - Ante Tomic

"It was a little bit of a weird game, we opened the game so and so, the first half we almost seemed to be playing a friendly game, and then it got tougher and tougher.

"At the end we also had a lot, a lot of luck, and we won."

Tomic split two free throws to give Croatia a three-point lead, 70-67, 21 seconds from the end of regulation, but Greece circulated the ball calmly on the last possession and Nikos Zisis drilled a triple with nine seconds on the clock to tie the scores at 70 and send the game into first overtime.

The roles were reversed five minutes later, as Zisis hit a jumper 36 seconds from the end of first overtime to give Greece a 77-74 cushion but Bogdanovic, cool as ice, received a long pass in the corner and replied with a three pointer to tie the scores at 77.

That big shot was the spark the Croatian winger needed to spring into action in second overtime, as he scored six points within the first 105 seconds to make sure his team would take possession of the driver's seat for good, as Greece never reclaimed the lead.

Croatia will now face Ukraine in the quarter-finals riding a seven-game winning streak.

"Of course [right now] it means a lot, after seven games we want to continue like that, it is good for our confidence and for all the fans that came here to support us," Tomic said.

"But if we lose in the quarter-finals, it will not mean anything."

 

 

 

 


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