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 Offers Strong Two-Way Presence
Providing his country with a well-rounded display, Dario Saric delivered his first double-double of EuroBasket 2017 Saturday, registering 11 points (3-11 fg), 10 rebounds, and two assists in Croatia’s convincing 74-58 win over Romania.
Although buckets were tough to come by, the forward – as he’s been known to do – managed to rise to the occasion in a big spot. His 3-pointer with two minutes to go supplied Croatia the dagger it needed to fend off its pesky hosts, and secure its second EuroBasket triumph in as many tries.
Like Friday, in its win over Hungary, Croatia endured a slow start, as Romania, playing in front of its home crowd, roared out to a 10-0 lead. The Croats were held without a field goal until the five-minute mark of the opening frame, when Saric nailed a deep three from in front of his own bench.
Moments later, following a defensive rebound, the 23-year old sparked a transition opportunity, which he capped by successfully sending a bounce pass to Kruno Simon, who cut through the lane for a score. The back-to-back baskets served as the foundation for a game-changing 28-2 blitz that gave Croatia control.
Saric’s top highlight from the first half, however, came on the defensive end, in the final minute of the second quarter. With the lane seemingly open in front of him, Romania’s Nandor Kuti took off from the mid post. From the opposite weakside baseline, Saric closed in, and proceeded to deliver an emphatic stuff that denied Kuti the basket.
Saric went into the locker room with six points, and a team-best six rebounds. After playing all but 93 seconds of the opening stanza, Saric started the second half on the bench, in order to get some rest. Even so, he wound up logging a team-high 33 minutes, but was still fresh enough in the waning moments of Saturday’s tilt to stroke Croatia’s pivotal triple.
Perhaps most revealing of Saric’s statistics Saturday was his superlative plus-22 rating, reflective of the number of points Croatia outscored Romania by while Saric was on the floor.
Korkmaz Makes Most of Second Half Minutes
A telling development in Turkey’s EuroBasket opener Friday – a narrow loss to Russia – was that Furkan Korkmaz ended the game on the court, despite not receiving a starting nod. Saturday against Great Britain, he again came off the bench, but again, his contributions resulted in coach Ufuk Sarica giving him an important role.
After checking in for the first time late in Saturday’s opening period, and then being looked off several times by teammates early in the second quarter, Korkmaz got on the board by driving the lane for a floater.
The deposit triggered a stretch in which Korkmaz tallied nine of Turkey’s next 11 points. He didn’t miss any of his four shots, including a three, during the run, which was punctuated by the acrobatic sequence shown below.
In the second half, Korkmaz, the 26th pick of the 2016 draft, added one more field goal, and made sure to make it count. He finished with 11 points, three assists, and three steals in 20 minutes of action, as Turkey knocked off Great Britain, 84-70, for its first EuroBasket 2017 win.
• Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis went for 27 points, six rebounds, and two steals in Latvia’s dominant 92-64 triumph over Belgium.
• Former Sixer Alexey Shved paced Russia with 22 points in a 75-72 win against Serbia. The Russians are now 2-0 in group play.
• On the heels of having played two games in as many days, Saric and Croatia will rest Sunday. When they resume competition Monday, the Croats will go up against Montenegro, ranked 72nd in the world this year, and anchored by former Sixer draft pick Nik Vucevic.
• Korkmaz and Turkey have off Sunday as well. They’ll battle Serbia, which placed third in FIBA’s rankings last year, Monday at
** Live video streams of all EuroBasket 2017 games can be viewed the ESPN3 / WatchESPN platform, as well as http://www.livebasketball.tv.