It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win.
In what was a crucial game in Group C at EuroBasket 2022, Croatia (2-1) survived what was an incredibly hectic fourth quarter to knock off Estonia (0-3), 73-70, and notched their second consecutive win at the tournament.
Ivica Zubac got his second start for Croatia, tallying 8 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks in 21 minutes. Five of the 8 rebounds came on the offensive end.
The game was closely contested the whole way as neither team held a double-digit lead at any point, with the largest lead being Croatia’s 9-point cushion early in the fourth quarter.
Estonia rallied back and had multiple chances to tie or take the lead down the stretch, including at the free throw line. Unfortunately, Estonia would not convert on those opportunities. The final 3-point heave by Kristian Kullamäe to tie the game for Estonia fell by the wayside, securing the Croatian victory.
Croatia moves to 2-1 in Group C play with a big game against Italy (1-1) coming on Tuesday. Croatia will finish up group play on Thursday when they take on Ukraine (2-0).
It was a rough day for Bojan Bogdanovic (Utah Jazz) as he had just 4 points on 1 of 6 shooting for Croatia while also having 4 turnovers. Saric led the way for Croatia, pouring in 15 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Karlo Matkovic (New Orleans Pelicans) scored 17 points on a perfect 8 of 8 shooting off the bench.
Siim-Sander Vene led Estonia with 18 points while Maik Kotsar had 17. Kullamäe was also in double-figures with 14. Kerr Kriisa, who plays for the Arizona Wildcats, had 5 points but only shot 1 of 11 from the field.