Croatia will join 11 other European nations in the second round of Eurobasket 2013 after their 70-53 victory over the Czech Republic on Monday left them 4-1 and on top of their group alongside defending champions Spain. After a 28 point loss to Spain in their first game last week, Croatia rebounded to take three consecutive close games. An Ante Tomić layup with 9 seconds to go saw Croatia survive an upset from Georgia, winning 77-76 in their second game. In game three, 23 points from Bojan Bogdanović were enough for the Croats hold off a twenty point Polish comeback as they held on to win 74-70. Croatia were on the other end of a comeback in their fourth game, when they overccame a 13 point Slovenian lead to win 76-74 in an overtime thriller.
Their next task will be to finish in the top four of their group and advance to the quarterfinals. The top 6 teams not including Spain (hosts) will qualify for the FIBA World Championships, which take place next September. Croatia’s next three opponents are Finland, Italy, and Greece and the games will be played on the 12th, 14th, and 16th. Two wins are likely required to advance.
Bojan Bogdanović has led the team in scoring through five games, with an average of 17 points per game, and a field goal percentage of 48%. 17 year old Dario Šarić is contributing sic points per game, and has shot 67% from behind the arc thus far. Ante Tomić has dominated the boards, with eight rebounds per game. Bogdanović will need to keep his hot hand if Croatia are to advance to the knockout stages.