Croatia marches on at International Huawei Cup

CroatiaA mouth-watering clash took place between Croatia and Lithuania at the International Huawei Cup, with both nations with an eye on the 2015 EuroBasket next month. The contest was set up perfectly, both teams coming into the clash with unbeaten records this summer, both Croatia and Lithuania have won the last five games consecutively. In the end the Croats run out with a comfortable 72-59 victory.

So, we had the star line up (Bojan Bogdanovic, Ante Tomic, and Luka Zoric) against a gutsy Lithuania team that had home court advantage in Kaunas.

Croatia has looked dangerous this summer, but here the team had to up another gear and managed to deliver on the Zalgiris Arena hardwood. It was the teams’ best performance of the season as they put together an all-round hoops school, grabbing 14 steals and forced 19 turnovers, while also conceding just four rebounds at the offensive end all game.

The visitors started very well and grabbed the first bucket through Marko Tomas from beyond the arc and from there Croatia never looked like being overturned. After ten minutes the score was 19-9 and the guests were buzzing in front of the 11,000 strong crowd. The second frame all but killed the game as Croatia used a 12-0 run and carved out a big 39-18 lead through the long break. The unrelenting Croat plays continued in the third act and soon the gap was a massive 27 points (49-22) to all but kill the game. From there the visitors cruised through the game and even eased off in the fourth quarter to give their hosts their only period success.

Bogdanovic once again led the scoring for Croatia with 12 points, followed by Zoric with 11 points.

Renaldas Seibutis stood out for Lithuania with 7-for-10 shooting on his way to 16 points, but he was the only player on his team scoring double digits.

Croatia’s captain, Roko Leni Ukic was pleased with the performance but was reluctant to go overboard:

“I think we played a superb game, I cannot remember the last time we were so dominant against such a great team on their home court…

“We should not get carried away nonetheless because this is still a friendly game, so the value of the result is only relative.

“It is simply one more good indication that we are on the right track and that the last 15 days of preparations will be crucial.”

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