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EuroBasket 2017: Bojan Bogdanovic and Croatia advance to Round of 16

Russia will be their first single-elimination challenger.

Olympics: Basketball-Men's Team-Preliminary Round LIT vs CRO Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Scoring 22 points in 25 minutes of action, Bojan Bogdanovic was once again Croatia’s leading man as his team finished pool play with a 107-69 victory over the Czech Republic on Thursday morning.

Though the Croats reached the century mark for the first time since 1997, the game itself was really only a formality as they had already secured second place in Group C by way of holding the head-to-head tiebreakers over Hungary and Montenegro.

Still, it was evident that head coach Aleksander Petrovic wanted to head into the knockout rounds with a win. Bogdanovic didn’t start, but he was swiftly inserted into the contest when the Czechs pulled to within six late in the first quarter. It wasn’t until the end of the third period, when Croatia had secured an 18-point lead behind his and Dario Saric’s 45 combined points, that the team’s pair of heavy lifters checked out for the remainder of game.

However, in addition to the final frame, Croatia’s stars will get two days to recuperate before facing Timofey Mozgov and Russia, Group D’s third-place finisher, on Sunday in Istanbul, Turkey.

Then, a tough physical test against Jonas Valunciunas and Lithuania probably looms in the quarter-finals, should both teams advance. The Lithuanians are the top offensive rebounding team in the tournament, generating 14.0 extra chances per game.

Keeping opponents off the glass already proved troublesome for Croatia’s lack of interior depth against Spain, who tallied 22 offensive rebounds against them during the group phase.

Another glaring issue in that lone loss was the over-reliance on Bogdanovic and Saric to score on isolation plays without the benefit of much off-ball cutting or screening when the lead was being exchanged late in the game.

Rather than scoring within the flow of the offense, like Bogdanovic did when he converted his first points of the game off a beautiful no-look pass from Saric, Croatia’s top-two scorers were briefly forced to settle for a series of low percentage fadeaway attempts.

In that regard, Bogdanovic already appears to be a fit for the Pacers.

To see how Croatia’s late-game offense will hold up against the threat of single-elimination, stream the action on Watch ESPN with a cable or satellite subscription.