Comeback Kids Spain Top Hosts, Group

10 July 2010
An incredibly intense and passionate second-half performance by Spain at the U20 European Championship Men 2010 against Croatia underlined their growing medal credentials as they shaded a tight game against the hosts to claim a 64-59 success.

Spain came out from the locker rooms 27-26 behind and absolutely exploded at both ends of the court to leave a ‘Prostran-less' Croatia reeling and looking decidedly flat.

Brimming with energy all over the court and even from the bench, the Spanish really cranked up their defence as their ball pressure and hard work under their own basket provided the best platform possible for some excellent play in transition (watch Jose Franch's postgame reaction here).

Croatia couldn't cope and Spain moved into a double-digit lead at 44-30 after a huge jam on the fast break by the ever impressive Ignacio Llovet and then a big triple by Alvaro Munoz.

The sense of disappointment amongst the home supporters was palpable but to their credit, the home team responded magnificently in the last quarter to show real heart. Roared on by their fans, they kept the Spanish scoreless for four minutes and sunk the first 11 points in the period to make it a one shot game at 51-49.

The difference was still two points with 16 seconds remaining after a basket by Ivan Batur but foul shots by Josep Franch either side of a Croatia turnover sealed the game for Spain.

It also reminded everyone they are a force to be reckoned with in this competition - especially with Nikola Mirotic still potentially to be added to the mix.

Llovet finished with 17 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks while for Croatia, only Mario Delas managed to scrape into past single digits with a team-high 10 points.


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