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Russia, Croatia and Spain advance to Round of 16, Serbia weather Turkish storm
ISTANBUL (FIBA EuroBasket 2017) - Serbia have shown nerves of steel in Istanbul, but it is Russia who are still unbeaten in the group. Croatia and Spain have collected their third wins in Group C.
Serbia and Turkey were trading blows for most of the game, until Bogdan Bogdanovic decided to end it with back-to-back three-pointers in the fourth quarter. Bogdanovic had a team-high 17 points on 3-of-7 from beyond the arc.
"At the playmaking position, Stefan Jovic had the calmness and knew where to put the ball and how to play," said Djordjevic, full of praise for his point guard, the author of 15 points and 9 assists.
"At the end of the game, when they hit a couple of big 3s in a row, we managed to stay calm and play our game. Resilience is a great word [for it], I'll try to find the Serbian version of it and I'll definitely use it with my players tomorrow," the Serbian coach said.
Turkey got 19 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the three-point territory by Melih Mahmutoglu, but they drop to 1-2 in Group D, as Serbia climbed to 2-1. Latvia are also a 2-1 team, following yet another mind-blowing performance by Kristaps Porzingis. The 22-year-old put up 28 points and 8 rebounds in just 26 minutes of action, as Latvia defeated Great Britain 97-92.
But in charge of Group D are the boys of Sergey Bazarevich. Russia have maintained their perfect record with a 76-67 win over Belgium, Aleksei Shved led four guys in double figures with 20. Shved also had 6 rebounds and 6 assists, distributing the ball nicely to make up for his 5-of-15 shooting performance.
Group C is the only group with two unbeaten teams. Croatia have won their first three games at a major tournament for the first time since FIBA EuroBasket 1995, which was also the last time they stood on a podium. Bojan Bogdanovic was unstoppable early on with 19 of his 23 points coming in the first half, and Dario Saric had 14 points, including the game-winning lay-up in the final minute, as Croatia celebrated a 76-72 win over Montenegro.
Just like Russia, Croatia have also booked their spot in the Round of 16, as have the Spaniards. Sergio Scariolo could afford an additional day of rest for the 37-year-old legend Pau Gasol, and Alex Abrines also got an extra day to get back from his minor leg injury. Spain defeated the hosts Romania 91-50 with numerous highlight plays by Juancho Hernangomez, the game's top scorer with 18 points.
Even with Pau Gasol sitting this day out, there was an historical event in Group C. Hungary won their first FIBA EuroBasket game in 48 years, taking down Czech Republic 85-73. Adam Hanga had his finger in everything, flirting with a triple-double in his 31-point, 8-rebound, 8-assist outing.
Hungary, Czech Republic and Montenegro are all tied at 1-2 in Group C. The battle for the Round of 16 is about to get really tense.