Italy Edge Out Croatia In Thriller

Croatia lost to Italy in the first round, so a win against Tunisia is a must tonight.

Italy used a 9-0 run in the third quarter to take a lead they never relinquished on the way to a 67-60 win over Croatia which saw the hosts of the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Turin book their place in Friday's Semi-Finals. The Croatian team did not make it yesterday, but on July 6, 2016 they have the chance to get to the Semi-Finals once more.

With the score tied at 35 at halftime, Croatia looked to be the more aggressive team early in the second half and held a 43-42 edge with 4 minutes left to play in the third period. That is when Italy made their move, scoring nine unanswered points, capped off by a Daniel Hackett three-pointer that saw them pull away 51-43.

They headed into the fourth quarter with a 54-47 advantage. The Croats got within three on a number of occasions in the final frame but a scoring drought that lasted more than three minutes down the stretch ultimately cost them dearly.

This game lived up to its status of top-billing in the Group Phase. There was very little between the two teams. This was best reflected in the fact that the score was tied 10 times and there were 10 lead changes. It all came down to the wire in the final minutes.

The Croatian team have to put this game behind them to focus on a must-win situation against the Tunisians on Wednesday if they are to stand any chance of returning to the Olympics for the first time since 2008.