Holding his own in the paint vs Slovenia – C Ante Tomic
After the hard fought defensive battle Croatia was able to win Slovenian NT in front of it’s home crowd in Ljubljana Stozice Arena by 60:65 (15:16, 15:16, 21:16, 14:12).
Despite being only 4-17 from three-point land and having as much as 19 turnovers, Croatia controlled defensive boards throughout the complete course of the game and was able to win the second half battle for the boards by 15:7. C Ante Tomic led the team with 9 boards overall and came up with couple of huge points to seal the victory in the clutch time.
PG Dontaye Draper was again impressive especially during the opening sequence – not only he controlled the ball, creating chances for his teammates but he also created havoc on the defensive end, stealing the ball in the early phase of Slovenian offense. He is an DEFINITE UPGRADE on the point guard position for Croatia and he is taking the play of the team on the completely new level.
Screenshot: Croatian National Television/HRT
Olimpija Ljubljana PF Damir Markota again played with poise, but he obviously lacks determination and was overmatched by Slovenian NT PFs on numerous occasions.
Nets’ 2011 draftee Bojan Bogdanovic again had a solid game. While holding his own on defense he was able to be the second leading scorer of the team with 11 points. Zagreb CO SG Kruno Simon had 15 points. Coach Joke Vrankovic decided not to use SF Damjan Rudez and SG Marko Car in this one.
Overall Croatia managed to stay within the game and showed ability to control the game in the most critical moments while rotating as much as 11 players, 10 of which scored. This victory over highly respected Bozidar Maljkovic is a confidence booster for still relatively unexperienced Croatian NT coach Joke Vrankovic. It seems like Croatian NT is finally heading into the right direction…
On Tuesday, Croatia will face Serbia (21.00 CET) in the final game of the Tournament with LIVE broadcast on Croatian National Television.
R.I.P. Nikola Jović (1996-2022) Tribute