Turnovers hurt Dario Saric, Croatia in EuroBasket loss to Italy

Sep 6, 2022, 2:47 PM
Croatia's Dario Saric, left, is challenged by Italy's Achille Polonara during their Eurobasket grou...

Croatia's Dario Saric, left, is challenged by Italy's Achille Polonara during their Eurobasket group C basketball match in Milan, Italy, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

(AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric and the Croatian national team secured a spot in the 16-team bracket of FIBA EuroBasket before they took the court Tuesday against Italy.

So it didn’t matter for more than seeding purposes that those miscues doomed Croatia in an 81-76 loss to the Italians.

Saric scored 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting and added eight rebounds with three assists. But he also turned the ball over six times, several coming on wayward passes that could have been easy assists.

Over four tournament games, Saric is averaging 10 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game while shooting 36% from the field.

Croatia had 18 turnovers to Italy’s nine and shot 43% in the loss Tuesday.

Utah Jazz forward and reported Suns trade target Bojan Bogdanovic scored 27 for Croatia, hitting four threes and adding five rebounds and three assists.

The Italians got 19 points apiece from current Jazz wing Simone Fontecchio and Nicolo Melli, who last played in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks (2020-21).

For Saric and Croatia, opening group play concludes on Thursday at 5:15 a.m. MST against Ukraine before the bracket round starts Saturday.

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Turnovers hurt Dario Saric, Croatia in EuroBasket loss to Italy