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Onto the Knockout Stage as Croatia Send Puerto Rico Packing

September 4, 2014


Needing a win to clinch a berth in the knockout round, Croatia got the job done and did it easily, leading from wire to wire as they beat Puerto Rico 103-82. After consecutive lackluster performances, Croatia were firing on all cylinders, just in time for the must-win games.



Croatia got off to a perfect start, leading 20-7 after just over six minutes. They would have left the first quarter with an even more dominant lead if not for JJ Barea’s lights out shooting from behind the arc, where he shot 3/3, as Croatia led 28-16 through one. There was some foul worries in the second quarter for Croatia, with Ante Tomic and Dario Saric picking up their third fouls, and Bojan Bogdanovic and Oliver Lafayette getting their second fouls early on in the second. Croatia poured it on in the final minutes before halftime, and went into the break with a comfortable 53-36 lead. The team shot well over 50% and had seven players with five points or more at halftime.



The team picked up where they left off to start the second half, pulling ahead to a 22 point lead after two and a half minutes, as Dario Saric continued to have a great all-around game. Puerto Rico began to unravel, playing sloppy basketball and picking up silly fouls, as they realized their tournament was coming to an end. The teams cruised through the final 15 minutes, and the final horn could not have sounded any sooner.

Croatia finished the game shooting 57% from the field. Bojan Bogdanovic and Dario Saric were the standout players for Croatia, as Bogdanovic scored 23 points off eight shots, going 14/17 from the free throw line. Saric had a beautifully efficient game, hitting all five of his field goals and all four free throws to score 15 points. He also picked up four rebounds and three assists. Indiana Pacer and sharpshooter Damjan Rudez continued to struggle, hitting one of four three pointers. JJ Barea led the scoring for Puerto Rico with 20 points.




Next Opponent: With Argentina and Senegal both losing, Croatia were able to leapfrog them to finish second in the group. They will face off against France in the round of 16 on Saturday.








Zach Gilfix
Posted By: Zach Gilfix 14 comments

  1. IvicA says:

    Whoa. I forgot about the Čilić match.

    He’s up 2 sets to none, and the third is at a tiebreaker. Looks like this could be over soon.

  2. IvicA says:

    Hopefully Greece holds onto their lead over Argentina.

    If Greece wins, we finish 2nd and play France (instead of a much bigger Brazil).

  3. Ziva Istina Ziva Istina says:

    We played France in France a weeks ago as part of a 4-team tourney. We played great for the first 37 minutes and then choked away the ending. France is good, but not as good as they were last year at EuroBasket.

  4. Ziva Istina Ziva Istina says:

    Also, Doper Cilic gets the job done and gets into the semis of the US Open. Credit to him for taking advantage of a favorable draw. Well done!!

  5. Ziva Istina Ziva Istina says:

    but true…….look at the draw. It wasn’t a tough one.

    Either way, great result for Doper Cilic. I’m assuming he will play Federer in the semis. And this is not the same Federer from 5 years ago, so he will have a shot. Here’s hoping Doper Cilic doesn’t let the pressure of a Grand Slam semifinal get to him.

  6. Soul Champ says:

    @ Svima

    Can you imagine the joy I feel when my 6 year old son radiates AWE inspiring surprise at the 103-82 score yesterday!

    After Senegal and Greece he knew we had to beat PR to advance.

    I came home and showed him the score on my APP on the iPhone first thing. He was blown away at the 103 pts!

    We live the Bronx, NY and he loves to play basketball and soccer. He chooses to rock a Croatian jersey when ever possible. His a physical little man that mixes it up with all the elements that make up the BX. As his daddy did before him.

    He is empowered by being Croatian and honoring the family name as he navigates life growing up in NYC.

    Days like yesterday matter.

    He now has requested with respect a Croatian basketball jersey .

    Ps – yesterday he told his Mexican baby sitter that he will marry a Croatian women like his Mom!


  7. ARMADA87 ARMADA87 says:

    I take it you must be one of maybe 5 hrvati in the BX? haha

    Tons of Albos over there though and felt like they always came to Astoria to hang out – at least a few years back

  8. Soul Champ says:

    @ Armada


    There are a few more here and there. You know how we hit the four corners of the globe.

    Kosovars in the Bronx always give me free pizza as I listen to them hate on Serbs.

    Can’t wait to see a match in Kantrida at the new Stadion.

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