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Croatia upsets Australia 97-82 in Olympic men's basketball
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Croatia scored high field goal percentage to dominate its opening game on Sunday, romping past Australia 97-82 in the Beijing Olympics men's basketball preliminary tournament.

"We expected a difficult game," said Croatia's forward Marko Tomas. "But when you score almost 80 percent from three-point range, it's impossible to lose."

"When you play good defence, you win in confidence and then you take good shots," Croatia's forward Zoran Planinic added. "Everything worked out in that particular aspect of the game."

Croatians Nikola Prkacin tied with Marko Banic to score a game-high 16 points.

Australia's forward Matt Nielsen said the Aussies didn't play "intelligent basketball."

"Croatia picked us apart and the result showed," he said. "This wasn't in the cards. It's not great for confidence but we'll show guts."

Croatia came out strong with a 7-0 run to break a 12-12 tie in an extremely tight game beginning. It played tough defence to stop the Aussies from scoring more after Mark Worthington made two free throws. The Boomers trailed 21-14 by the end of the first quarter.

The Croatians went on a charge in the second quarter, racking up a 6-0 run to a 42-24 lead before Marin Rozic hit a three-pointer to stretch the advantage to 18.

The Aussies managed to score four inside points but was still down by 16 points at half time, 47-31.

Hitting their top form, the Croatians scored triple three-pointers in the third quarter and broadened the gap to 20 points by the end of the third quarter.

They took the lead in the fourth quarter to win their opening preliminary round games.

Croatia takes on Russia on Tuesday in the Olympics preliminary while Australia meets Argentina.

(Xinhua News Agency August 10, 2008)

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