Luka Panduric poured in a team-high 22 points for Croatia against Ukraine
Croatia almost threw away a 16-point fourth-quarter lead but managed to edge out Ukraine 77-75 in overtime and register a first victory after two games at the Sportland U20 European Championship in Tallinn.
The Croats started pulling away early in the second quarter and methodically built an advantage that reached its highest peak, 64-48, when there was just 5:48 left to play in the game.
Ukraine looked dead and buried, and were probably the only ones in Saku Suurhall arena that still believed they had time to turn this clash around.
In actual fact they only needed three minutes to do so, as Maksym Lutsenko hit three triples in quick succession to spark an amazing 19-3 run which saw Ukraine tie the scores at 67 on a Vladyslav Koreniuk lay-up, with 2:35 still on the clock.
The biggest surprise in the game was yet to come however, as nerves prevailed and both sides wasted successive possessions from that point on and until the end of regulation.
Croatia recovered from the shock somewhat in overtime and despite the fact they quickly fell behind by four points, they hit four of their first five free throws in the extra period to reach the final five seconds in the driver's seat, 77-75.
Luka Panduric missed a shot from the line that could have given his team a three-point cushion but Luka Vlaic picked up the offensive rebound and was fouled with less than one second left on the clock.
While Vlaic missed both his free throws, his effort was sufficient for Ukraine to have no time left even for a desperation shot.
Panduric finished with a team-high 22 points and added five rebounds and four assists, while Vlaic contributed 19 points and seven boards, including the precious last offensive rebound for the winners.
For Ukraine, Lutsenko led all scorers with 24 points and five rebounds, Koreniuk collected a double-double of 15 points and 11 boards while Klym Artamonov had 16 points and seven assists.