first_imgTURIN (2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments) – Croatia advanced to the Final of the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Turin after holding off Greece, 66-61, in Friday’s first Semi-Final.On Saturday, Aleksandar Petrovic’s charges will face the winner of the second Semi-Final between Italy and Mexico.The Croats looked like they had their place in Saturday’s decider all but assured as they raced out to a 12-3 advantage inside the first 2:23 minutes of the game and led by as many as 24 points early in the second quarter.However, they could not sustain that high level of play and Greece erased the deficit gradually during the rest of the first half and well into the third quarter. They even took their first lead of the game, 47-46, on a pair of free-throws by Stratos Pereroglou with 3:22 left in that period.That advantage was short-lived though as Bojan Bogdanovic and Dario Saric stepped up to edge Croatia back in front, 52-49, heading into the fourth quarter. They re-built a double-digit lead in the final frame and did just enough to hold off Greece.Turning Point: After Perperoglou gave Greece a first lead, Krunoslav Simon picked up a technical foul which the Greeks converted for a 48-46 edge. The Croats seemed to regain their focus thereafter and went on a 16-3 run to go up by 11 and that looked to have dealt the final blow to Greece’s hopes of a miraculous comeback.Stats Don’t Lie: Croatia could not have got off to a much better start than they did, as they shot 11-of-16 from the field in the first quarter, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out 10 assists.Game Hero: Saric had 16 points and 8 rebounds and did an outstanding job defensively on Giannis Antetokounmpo, holding him to 9 points on a 3-of-14 shooting display and forcing him into 6 turnovers.The Bottom Line: Croatia find themselves a win away from a first Olympic appearance since 2008. As for Greece, they fell short in the OQT much as they did four years ago.  source: FIBATweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more