Croatia wins opening for EuroBasket warmup

CroatiaCroatia has been hot form through the summer winning six out of six friendlies as the country prepares for an assault on the gold medal at the 2015 EuroBasket tournament next week. The nation is hosting a friendly warm up tournament in the Zagreb Arena and edged Estonia 66-63, while in the other contest Bosnia and Herzegovina narrowly downed Israel 80-79.

There was a party mood inside Zagreb Arena as the home fans rode behind their team and its six game streak, and the fans were in good spirits as Ante Tomic was handed an award for Croat Player of the Year in the pre-game formalities.

Croatia has the players and the game to go deep in the upcoming EuroBasket, but here they were shown to be vulnerable as Estonia hassled the hosts from the start. However, despite the visitors staying in the hunt Croatia took the lead through 10 minutes, the scoreboard reading 20-17. Estonia dug deep in the second quarter to ensure the score was locked through halftime, tied at 38 apiece through the long break. In the third act Croatia took the lead again, but despite winning 51-47 through thirty minutes, Estonia made sure the game would go to the wire. As it did, with the hosts finally tying the game up late on.

Bojan Bogdanovic was the go to scorer for Croatia once again, this time he drained 21 points in the win.

Siim-Sander Vene topped Estonia with 19 points, while Gregor Arbet added 11 points.

In the other game inside Zagreb Arena, Bosnia and Herzegovina played out a thrilling 80-79 success over Israel to stay hot in its EuroBasket preparations. However, Israel looked the most likely winners through the first half, and pulled away 45-36 as the teams headed into the locker room at halftime. The Bosnians looked in better touch in the third act and managed to carve a 63-62 lead at the final split, before holding tis lead through a tense fourth quarter, with Gregory Renfroe deciding it from the charity strip in the dying seconds.

Elmedin Kikanovic led the winning effort with 14 points, followed by Miroslav Todic with 13 points and 8 rebounds, and Andrija Stipanović with 12 points.

Lior Eliyahu grabbed a game high 15 points for the losing team, while Omri Casspi notched 14 points.

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