Greece and Croatia will try to move one step closer to earning a ticket to the 2016 Rio Olympics. The two European powerhouse teams will collide in the semifinals of the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament on Friday in Turin.
Greece showed why they are favored to win the tournament in Turin after sweeping their two preliminary round assignments. The Greeks opened their campaign with a 78-53 win over former Asian champions Iran, which was followed by an 86-70 win over Mexico on Wednesday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was a force to reckon with in their first two games. Though he played just 20.5 minutes per game, the Milwaukee Bucks guard-forward averaged 18.5 points and 4.0 rebounds for Greece. Ioannis Bourousis was also solid for Greece, as he posted 13.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.
Veteran Nick Calathes provided stability with his 6.5 dimes per game. Against Croatia, Calathes said that there is no room for complacency for them. “It will be a tough game. We’ve got to learn from what we did and get better. It’s an elimination game. You don’t win, you go home,” he told reporters via FIBA.com.
On the other hand, Croatia absorbed a tough 67-60 loss against host Italy in their tournament opener on Tuesday. However, they were able to secure a spot in the semis after bouncing back with a masterful 72-52 victory over African contenders Tunisia.
Veteran guard Bojan Bogdanovic was simply unstoppable in their first two matches. The Brooklyn Nets guard posted 25.5 points on 45.5 percent shooting from the field to go along with 4.5 rebounds. But against the Greeks, the 27-year-old is not expecting anything easy.
“It will be another tough game,” Bogdanovic said. “Now the tournament is going to start Friday.”
The Greece vs Croatia 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament semi-final match is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. ET. Fans all over the world can catch the knockout showdown between the two European powerhouse teams through online live stream via Live Basketball TV. Match highlights will be available on FIBA’s YouTube page.
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