Group C got a whole lot more complicated after Monday’s games. Croatia came to life and stole the headlines, while Finland dodged a Slovenian comeback attempt on the road to get to 3-1 and take sole possession of the lead in the group.
Finland could’ve ended the February window with a ticket to the Second Round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 European Qualifiers. Still, Croatia did not allow that to happen by prevailing in a double overtime thriller in Sweden.
Sweden owned a 15-point lead over Croatia and was up by eight late in the fourth quarter. Still, Zeljko Sakic, Filip Kruslin, and Goran Filipovic led the comeback, which sent the game to overtime at 79-all after Simon Birgander was called for goaltending on Kruslin’s layup with five seconds to play.
The hosts in Norrkoping were closer to winning in the first overtime, but Sakic and Filipovic connected on last-minute three-pointers to tie the game once more. At the same time, Ivan Ramljak blocked Ludvig Hakanson’s last-second attempt for the win.
After surviving those 45 minutes, Croatia finally had the momentum in the second overtime. And to top it off, Karlo Matkovic came up with a monster dunk almost at the buzzer to give them the tiebreaker as the game finished 105-98, edging out Sweden’s six-point win in Zagreb three days earlier.