Croatia and Germany met in the semifinal of the Olympic basketball qualifying tournament at Spaladium Arena on Saturday.
Croatia was unimpressive in their two group stage games, recording a tough defeat against Brazil (94:67) and a close victory over Tunisia (75:70).
Part of the reason for their poor performance can also be found in the stands. There were about 2,500 people at the first game, and barely 1,000 in the second. In an arena that holds 12,000, Croatia couldn’t quite take advantage of playing at home. Today, however, Hajduk fan group Torcida came out to save Croatia basketball and called on all members to attend today’s semifinal.
Torcida has not organized their attendance at a Croatia basketball match for about 30 years.
Germany v. Croatia
Hezonja scored Croatia’s first basket for 3:2. Bogdanović made 1/2 free throws to make the score 5:3. Žižić scored both free throws awarded shortly after to even the score at 5:5.
Ukić’s floating jump shot saw Croatia down by 1 point – 8:7. A stellar Bogdanović dunk gave Croatia the lead for the first time at 8:9. With 4 minutes to go, Germany led 12:9.
Bogdanović made it 15:12 with another 3-pointer. Bogdanović netted both free throws for 17:14 with 2 minutes to go. A 2pt driving layup by Bogdanović made it 17:16 and a foul drawn on him during the play saw him make a free throw to equal the score – 17:17.
Bogdanović put Croatia in the lead with another free throw for 17:18 and scored his second for +2. Sakić scored a 3pt jump shot for 17:22 Croatia!
Sakić scored 1/2 free throws for 19:23 just before the final buzzer of the 1st quarter.
A Germany 3-pointer opened the 2nd quarter for 22:23, but Jordano quickly put Croatia back in a comfortable lead with a free throw for 22:26.
Germany retook the lead thanks to a 3-pointer at 27:26. And it was 31:26 shortly after that.
Planinić scored for 31:28 and a Bogdanović dunk made it 37:30. A 3-pointer from the Utah Jazz player made it 39:33. Hezonja made two free throws for 41:35 with 3 minutes to go.
Hezonja scored a 3-pointer for 41:38 – and yet another for 43:41 with 2 minutes to go! Hezonja was on fire to level the score with two free throws – 43:43. Bogdanović put Croatia back in the lead with one minute to go at 43:45, which was the final score of the 2nd quarter!
Bogdanović scored the first basket of the 3rd quarter with 7:13 to go – 43:47. A Rogić 3-pointer saw Croatia up by 5 – 45:50.
A Žižić layup made it 48:52 and a single Bogdanović free trow 48:53 with just under 5 minutes to go. Bogdanović scored for 50:55 and nailed a 3pt jump shot after. A Sakić layup made it 52:60 with two minutes to go.
Croatia was only up by 5 with a minute to go – 56:60. Žižić scored 1/2 free throws for 56:61. Bogdanović scored two free throws to end the quarter 56:63!
Hezonja scored a 2pt pullup jump shot for 58:65. Bogdanović continued his brilliant play with another 3-pointer for a +10 Croatia lead – 58:68.
Jordano scored a 3-pointer for 63:71 with just over 7 minutes to go in the game. Bogdanović scored a 2pt floating jump shot for 67:73 and a free throw for 67:74.
Germany was only behind by 3 with 5 minutes to go – 72:74. Germany was awarded two free throws which they made to even the score with 4:30 to go.
Germany took after making two free throws for 76:74. Bogdanović was awarded two free throws in the next play which made fo 76:76 with 3 minutes to go!
Germany made two free throws for a +4 lead with 1:33 to go – 80:76.
The game ended 86:76 for Germany.
Germany and Brazil will meet in the final on Sunday, July 4 at 7:30 pm. Only the winner of the tournament will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
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