A win Saturday night would have virtually clinched a place in pool play for Bojan Bogdanovic and his Croatian teammates, but they were out hustled and out shot by Nigeria, 90-76, in Rio.
Bogdanovic scored 28 points on 8-of-15 shooting, including 3-of-6 from deep. He also shot 8-of-11 from the stripe. The rest of the red-and-white shot 18-of-50 and the Croatians' two other NBA players, Mario Hezonja and Dario Saric, finished with a combined 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting.
Nigeria led most of the game, initially on the back of its point guard, Michael Umeh, who finished with 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting, all from the arc. By game's end, Overall, Nigeria shot 17-of-36 from deep, compared to Croatia's 6-of-28. They also outrebounded Croatia, 45-32, including 17-12 on the offensive boards.
In the second half, Croatia decided to ride Bogdanovic and he got his team within three points midway in the fourth, but poor defense, including some by the Nets shooting guard, hurt them late.
As John Schuhmann writes, the loss complicates Group B, which includes both Croatia and Argentina.
So, in Group B, Nigeria beat Croatia, who beat Brazil, who beat Spain, who beat Lithuania, who beat Argentina, who beat Nigeria.— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) August 14, 2016
The final four teams that will move on to pool play next week won't be known until after Monday's games. Croatia plays Lithuanian late Monday night.