After leading through the first half, Team Croatia found itself down by a single point, 63-62, to Team Canada in Group C play this evening in Liepaja, Latvia. They used the fourth period to outpoint the Canadians by five, 26-21 and close out the second day of Group C play 88-84. The win puts Croatia in control of Group C play as they are assured of a pass through to Group F and a spot in the next preliminary round. The Croatians will face winless Korea tomorrow to close out preliminary round Group C play, providing Team Croatia with the opportunity to bring a 3-0 record to the next preliminary round. For Team Canada, the road gets a bit tougher as they face Team Lithuania, stunned 75-88 by Croatia, in the first round of Group C play and no doubt motivated to finish Group C play strong. The Canada-Lithuania loser will also advance, but will carry the stigma of two losses into the next preliminary round. A third preliminary round loss coming in Group F play would most likely send that team into the classification round for places #9 - #12 to finish the tournament.
Croatia, paced by small forward Mario Hezonja's game-high 21 points and backed by center Boris Barac's 18 points and 16 rebounds, dominated the Canadians on their boards by grabbing 41 rebounds (32 defensive) to Canada's 36. The Canadians were paced by point guard Kevin Pangos' 19 points on 7-16 (5-11, 2-5) shooting from the field and 0-0 free throws.