(Toronto, Ont.) – A late rally from Croatia caused Canada to surrender its second loss of the 11 game exhibition tour. Croatia won 69-64 in front of their home crowd in Slavonski Brod, Croatia.
Brady Heslip (Burlington, Ont.) led Canada in scoring, dropping a game-high 18 points, including 4-5 shooting from behind the arc.
Dario Saric was the Croatian standout, finishing with 14 points and six rebounds.
“It was a very even game for the first 38 minutes. We turned the ball over too many times in the last two minutes and allowed them to get to the rim,” said head coach Jay Triano.
“We need to learn to finish games better at the international level. This tour is a learning experience and we need to build off of this game.”
Croatia was able to double up Canada off the tip, out scoring the red and white 10-5 before Canada carved out a two-point lead to end the quarter.
The teams would trade buckets throughout the second quarter, but Canada maintained the two-point lead. Scoring 20 points, the second quarter was the best offensive period for the men’s national team and held a 35-33 lead into the halftime break.
Canada pushed the lead but Croatia chipped away at the lead and took over in the final five minutes of the fourth.
Croatia’s Oliver Lafayete played a game-high 29 minutes, finishing with 12 points and six assists.
Robert Sacre (North Vancouver, B.C.) had a strong 2014 summer debut, finishing with 12 points of his own while snagging eight boards.
There will be a rematch on August 2, as Canada looks to even the exhibition series. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.