Defending Afrobasket Champion Tunisia have been denied a chance to join fellow African Giant, Nigeria in Group B, as 75-70 loss to Croatia mean they won’t be at the Olympics.
The Tunisians were down by 14 points in the First Half, but nearly pulled a dramatic comeback in the end, Bojan Bogdanovic, Mario Hezonja and Pavle Marcinkovic ensured that won’t happen.
Croatia will now face Germany in the Semi-Finals on Saturday, while Tunisia end their run in Croatia with a pair of defeats to Brazil and Croatia. Brazil will take on Mexico in the other Semi-Final.
It went down to the wire as Tunisia poured on 29 points in the third quarter, to take a one-point lead with ten minutes to play. Croatia got back in front thanks to clutch shots by Bojan Bogdanovic and Mario Hezonja, but the game was still a one-possession encounter in the final minute. That’s when Bogdanovic drove and found an open Pavle Marcinkovic on the wing, for a three-pointer that made it 72-67 with just over 30 seconds to play.
Coach Dirk Bauermann tried to get back by sending Croatia to the free throw line, but even when Mario Hezonja missed his free throw, Marcinkovic was there to grab the offensive board and give Roko Ukic the chance to end the drama with 2.0 left. The captain did so, setting the final score at +5.