Croatia qualified for the Rio Olympic Games this summer by stunning Italy on its own hardwood, claiming a 78-84 OT win in the Turin qualifying tournament. It was a game of contrasting fortunes for both nations. Croatia spent most the game protecting an early lead, while Italy spent much of the contest on the front foot chasing Croatia down.
However, as the game descended into an added period, Croatia shone through and claimed the all-important berth in the 2016 Olympics.
Italy vs. Croatia, 78-84
Croatia had the best of the first quarter and by time the first split buzzer sounded, the visitors has a 12-19 advantage. The Azzurri, buoyed by home support, set about righting the deficit, first through a 22-20 second quarter that made it 34-39 through the long break. The hosts maintained the momentum in the third act and used an 18-15 frame to make it 52-54 at the thirty mark. Italy won its third consecutive period with an 18-16 charge in the 4th, enough to lock the scoreboard on 60-60 through regulation time.
After dominating much of the game but without the win, Italy simply run out of steam as Croatia bookended its game with an 8-14 run in the overtime period. It was enough to win the game and reach the Olympics.
Bojan Bogdanovic has been immense for Croatia this week, and he continued that form with a 26 point haul in the final. Dario Saric, another Croat star man, took a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds.