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Basketball: Croatia Beat Italy to Qualify for Rio Olympics

Croatia qualify for Rio (photo credit: Igor Kralj/Pixsell)

Croatia qualify for Rio (photo credit: Igor Kralj/Pixsell)

The Croatian basketball team has qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio next month after beating Italy in the final of the Olympic qualifying tournament in Turin on Saturday night…

Croatia, who beat Tunisia and Greece on the way to tonight’s final against Italy, were at the top of their game winning a thriller in overtime 84-78.

Bojan Bogdanović (26 points), Krunoslav Simon (21 points) and NBA-bound Dario Šarić (18 points) were three of the heroes of the night for Croatia, who at one point enjoyed a 11-point lead. The lead in the match changed hands a few times with Croatia having a 2-point advantage with just 21 seconds on the clock. Italy managed to tie it up 70-70 with just 5 seconds remaining to take the game into overtime.

Croatia started overtime strong, scoring 5 unanswered points before stretching out their lead to 6 points thanks to some sharp shooting from Simon and Bogdanović. Croatia managed to hold on to their lead to claim a dramatic victory and a ticket to Rio.

ITALY: Hackett, Belinelli, Datome, Bargnani, Gallinari. Klupa: Gentile, Poeta, Aradori, Melli, Cusin, Cervi, Tonut. ICoach: Ettore Messina

CROATIA: Ukić, Simon, Bogdanović, Bilan, Šarić. Klupa: Stipčević, Babić, Hezonja, Krušlin, Šakić, Planinić. Coach: Aleksandar Petrović

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