Roko-Leni Ukic and Bojan Boganovic led the winners charge with 13 points between them. Iran’s prolific Hamed Hadadi led all scorers with 27, in defeat.
Iran, once again relied heavily on Hadadi, as he rattled eight points in the opening ten minutes to steady his side – including back-to-back triples. But, Croatia spread the floor, creating more oppotunities, and seven points from Ukic, plus six from Ante Tomic, ensured that the Croats would go into the second quarter with a comfortable cushion. (22-13).
The second period saw more of the same, as Iran went more to Hadadi, who scored frequently inside, but in a scrappy second set of ten minutes, Croatia opened the game up with an 8-0 run, to give them a 44-24 lead at the half.
Iran kept in touch, watched on by their Iranian Governing Body of sports, but without a supporting cast, it was the Hadadi show, as he piled 21 points in total, with Arsalan Kazemi being the next highest scorer – with eight.
By the time the final period came to play, Croatia were in control, despite a mini-haul from Kazemi. Croatia were very much, home-and-dry.
“This game was very important.” Said Croatia coach, Josip Vrankovic at the after-game press conference.
“We didn’t start very well on defence, but pulled through and finished well.”
John Hobbs for TalkBasket.net – in Istanbul