Markkanen's game-winner eliminates Croatia from World Cup Qualifiers

2022-07-03 20:12
Credit: FIBA
Credit FIBA

Lauri Markkanen stunned Croatia (1-5) with a game-winner to put Finland (5-1) atop 81-79 (21-17, 22-17, 17-27, 21-18) and eliminate Croatia from the 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.

The teams battled back and forth in the entire game. With 3 minutes to go, Croatia had a thin 3-point lead (73-70). However, Zubac decided to take over the game. He first made an and-one layup, then grabbed a couple of offensive rebounds which ultimately were converted into another layup to give the home team an 8-point lead.

After Lovro Gnjidic's two missed free throws, Elias Valtonen converted two of his own to pull Finland within 3 again. However, Sasu Salin was then awarded an unsportsmanlike foul against Bogdanovic. With the extra possession in the hand, Croatia was not able to convert their advantage, both Bogdanovic and Zubac missed tough shots, and Finland answered with a triple (79-78).

Finland had to foul. They chose the perfect victim as Lovro Gnijdic missed two free throws again, and Finland had 12.3 seconds to assemble the final attack in order to win the game and send Croatia home. It was Lauri Markkanen's time. With 4 seconds to go, the Finnish star made a contested corner three-pointer to give Finland the 2-point lead.

Bojan Bogdanovic's three-pointer was no good but Ivica Zubac was fouled by Markkanen while fighting for a rebound. The big man stood to shoot two free throws with only a second to go. Zubac missed the first one, then missed the second one on purpose, and Finland took the final rebound to eliminate Croatia from the tournament.

Markkanen finished the game with 19 points on 7-for-15 shooting while grabbing 7 rebounds for 20 PIR. Lenovo Tenerife's Sasu Salin joined in with 14 points.

Croatia was led by the star trio of Ivica Zubac, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Mario Hezonja. Zubac, who missed the clutch free throws, collected 21 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks for 27 PIR for the team. Bogdanovic also added 21 points with 6 rebounds and 4 assists, while Hezonja contributed with 13 points and 6 rebounds.

Croatia: Ivica Zubac 21 (9/12 2PT, 3/7 FT, 8 REB, 3 BLK, 27 PIR), Bojan Bogdanovic 21 (4/10 2PT, 1/6 3PT, 10/14 FT, 6 REB, 4 AST, 4 TO), Mario Hezonja 13 (4/9 2PT, 1/5 3PT, 6 REB).

Finland: Lauri Markkanen 19 (3/6 2PT, 4/9 3PT, 1/3 FT, 7 REB, 20 PIR), Sasu Salin 14 (3/9 3PT, 5/5 FT), Alexander Madsen 10 (1/5 2PT, 2/6 3PT, 8 REB).



Show comments

Yep, I know
All 11 Finnish palyers scored. It was a game between one team and 3 Croatian players. As we could see, basket ball is a team sport, luckily.
2022-07-04
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Croatia doin Croatia things, lol
2022-07-03
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