Croatia stayed perfect in its preparations for the upcoming 2015 European Championships with a 74-66 victory over Turkey. The win also maintained the Croatians’ progress in the 2015 International Huawei Cup in Kaunas, and next up is tournament hosts Lithuania in a clash between two nations that are undefeated this summer.
As for Turkey, the country’s preparations for the 2015 Eurobasket could not be going any worse, with this loss coming after a thumping at the hands of Lithuania on Tuesday.
Turkey actually looked to have recovered from that thrashing yesterday and the team was paced early on by Ersan Ilyasova and took 10-4 lead before holding out for a 17-13 advantage through the first split. Luka Zoric, hot of his personal game of the summer yesterday, hit back-to-back buckets to tie the game midway through the second period. The Croats continued to push through the quarter and by the half time buzzer had carved out a 37-33 lead.
After the long break Croatia continued to carry the momentum and spent the frame extending the lead, finally opening a double digit 53-43 lead with less than two minutes of the third act remaining. The team held that deficit to put the scoreboard on 55-45 through thirty minutes, before holding off any Turkish rally in the fourth quarter.
Croatia looks well set up with Bogdan Bogdanovic, Zoric, and Ante Tomic all looking in good form. Bogdanovic led the scoring with 25 points, followed by Zoric with 11 points, and then Tomic with a near double-double of 10 points and 9 rebounds.
Melih Mahmutoglu paced Turkey with 16 points, while Ersan Ilyasova managed 15 points.
After the game, Bogdanovic was honest in his assessment of the team:
“It was a tough game,” Bogdanovic commented afterwards.
“We had a slow start, which unfortunately has become something of a habit for us as it was also in both our games with Germany.
“But I think we assumed control after the first five minutes and once we took the lead we stayed ahead all the time.
“I think it was a well-deserved victory and it is good for us to continue our winning streak.”