Throughout EuroBasket 2017, we’ll be providing you with news and notes from games involving Dario Saric and Furkan Korkmaz, the two members of the 76ers playing in this year’s competition.
Saric’s Late Shot Key in Latest Croatian Win
For the first 39 minutes of Croatia’s EuroBasket preliminary round clash with Montenegro, Dario Saric, by all accounts, was having a fairly pedestrian day. Effective for sure, but his role was mostly a complementary one.
Then, with 58 seconds to go, and the opposition suddenly down one and gaining momentum, Saric stepped into the forefront, supplying his country with the timely deposit it needed to put the game away.
Behind a 76-72 victory Monday, the Croats moved to 3-0 in EuroBasket play, and have positioned themselves for a berth in the knockout stage of the tournament, which begins later this week.
Having trailed by double-digits for a healthy portion of Monday’s match up, Montenegro cut the deficit to 73-72 on a lay-up from Tyrese Rice. A well-executed pick-and-roll sequence on Croatia’s ensuing possession provided the stage for Saric’s latest clutch contribution.
With Kruno Simon handling the ball, Saric moved to the top of the arc to set a screen. The action prompted Saric’s defender to leave him, creating just enough of a path for Saric to get to the rack. He subsequently took a pass from Simon, sliced through a congested key, and spun in a finger roll that went down.
Moments later, Saric split a pair of free throws to ensure Croatia’s win.
In all, Saric posted 14 points (5-10 fg, 1 3fg) in nearly 32 minutes of action, while generating a plus-9 rating.
With Croatia firing on all cylinders from beyond the arc early, Saric didn’t need to do much in the first half. He went into the locker room with five points, his first field goal coming from 3-point land…
…and his second on an aggressive drive to the basket that was set up by a nice ball fake.
In the third quarter, the 23-year old forward – while matched up frequently with Orlando Magic big man Nik Vucevic – seemed to get more aggressive. Midway through the frame, he used assertive stepback moves to give Croatia two straight buckets, and also made things happen with his hands.
Saric handed out a pair of dimes Monday, to go along with two boards.
Tough Test Awaits Korkmaz, Turkey
Later this afternoon, at 2:00 PM EST, Turkey will go for its second straight EuroBasket win. A challenging foe awaits in Serbia, 1-1 so far in the tournament. The Serbians hold FIBA’s No. 3 ranking, thanks to a silver medal finish this time a year ago at the Olympics.
Furkan Korkmaz enjoyed a head-turning stint Turkey’s last time out, a solid win over Great Britain Saturday. During one stretch late in the first half, the 26th pick in the 2016 draft scored nine of his team’s 11 points. He ended the day with 11 points himself.
• Hungary, which, like Croatia, belongs to Group C in the EuroBasket field, delivered an outcome Monday nearly half a century in the making. Besting the Czech Republic, 85-73, the Hungarians earned their first EuroBasket win since 1959. Adam Hanga, a former draft pick of the San Antonio Spurs, netted 34 points.
• When Saric and Croatia step back onto the hardwood Tuesday at 10:45 AM EST, they’ll have the chance to measure themselves against perennial EuroBasket favorite Spain, which has taken gold in three of the past four editions of the competition. The Spaniards, ranked second in the world, boast a stacked, veteran squad featuring some of the top players in the country’s history, including the Gasol brothers, former Sixer Sergio Rodriguez, Ricky Rubio, and the Hernangomez brothers.
• Korkmaz and Turkey have Belgium at 2:00 PM EST Tuesday. The Belgians have qualified for each of the last four EuroBaskets, but have finished no higher than eighth since 1961.
** Live video streams of all EuroBasket 2017 games can be viewed the ESPN3 / WatchESPN platform, as well as http://www.livebasketball.tv.