|8||R. STIPCEVIC||Did not play|
|10||Z. PLANINIC||Did not play|
|14||L. ZORIC||Did not play|
|15||L. ANDRIC||Did not play|
|Min||Minutes played||Tot||Total rebounds||BS||Block Shots|
|%||Shooting percentage||PF||Personal fouls||*||Starters|
ISTANBUL (2010 FIBA World Championship) - An Aleksandar Rasic free throw with one second remaining has delivered Serbia an incredible 73-72 (boxscore) victory over rivals Croatia to claim the first place in the 2010 FIBA World Championship quarter finals.
After the Serbs had led by seven in the last quarter, Marko Popovic and Marko Banic led Croatia back from the brink. Popovic hit 8/10 free throws in the final quarter and drew the teams level with 2/2 with 5.9 seconds remaining.
But Rasic dribbled the length of the court and drew a foul on Davor Kus, hitting the first free throw and deliberately missing the second to give Croatia no chance of responding.
For Serbia, Nenad Krstic worked hard for his 16 points, and was well supported by Rasic (15 points) and Kosta Perovic (10 points). For Croatia Popovic was tireless with 21 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, while Roko Ukic (11 points) and Banic (10 points, 7 rebounds) were strong contributors.
Though Serbia raced to 5-0, it was Croatia who was faster on-court, scoring a number of times in transition. When Marko Tomas scored an easy fast break lay-up with 3:08 to play the score was 18-13, and a Kresimir Loncar triple just before quarter time had Croatia eight in front.
Serbia levelled scores six minutes into the second quarter, with Perovic having six points, but a hook from Ante Tomic and a three in transition from Popovic restored the Croatian lead.
The third quarter saw both teams trading baskets throughout, with the lead changing hands 12 times. In the last minute Milos Teodosic nailed a triple and fed Milan Macvan for a fast break lay-up Serbia had a 54-50 three quarter time lead.
A crucial play came with just under five minutes to play in the last quarter. After Croatia had missed a number of close shots and tip in opportunities on the one possession Macvan buried a three in transition to establish a 64-57 lead, and then held on in the tightest of finishes.
Croatia coach Josip Vrankovic: "Sometimes you need luck and experience. Roko was very tired and Kus is a specialist in that position so that's why we decided to play him. I don't know if it was a foul or not at the end. We didn't want to leave the World Championship without showing our value. But I'm proud of my players, they gave the right picture today and played really good basketball. We brought five or six new players into the team this summer.
"Heading into the tournament, we wanted to qualify for the second round and we did it. We wanted to play good baskeball and we did that with the exception of one bad game (against Brazil).
"It's a hard game and you can't be happy when you lose like this."
Serbia head coach: Dusan Ivkovic: "The game was very, very tough. The team played with heart for 40 minutes to beat a very good team in Croatia. I want to congratulate my players. We have reached our competition target. That doesn't mean we are satisfied but to get so far for this young team and have the possibility to play three more games is very good.
"I think we lost this our concentration that we had in our previous games because we had a lot of turnovers, especially in the first quarter, but we had a big desire to win.
"I congratulate Croatia, it was a competitive game."
Nenad Krstic (player, Serbia): "It was a really tough game, Croatia fought hard to win so much but we fought and got the victory. As everybody sees there is no easy win or weaker team. We must play seriously every game and never give up. I was not expecting an easy game before the match because we had only one day off and our trip made us tired. We have reached the quarter finals and we have more days off before the next match. I do not know who will be our rival but we will be ready for the quarter final match."
Novica Velickovic (player, Serbia): "We played really tough games in Kayseri and after we came Istanbul, we found out that it gets tougher. Today, we had a really hard match against Crotia but we played well enough in the last seconds to get the victory. Now, we are waiting for our rival. On one side there are players like Juan Carlos Navarro, on the other side there are players like Dimitrios Diamantidis."