Turning Point: With Finland threatening to streak away at 42-31, a run of 10 unanswered points by Croatia just before halftime proved crucial.
Game Hero: Bojan Bogdanovic sunk six triples during a devastating performance for Croatia on his way to a game high 27 points. He also added seven rebounds.
Stats Don't Lie: As good as their perimeter shooting was, a percentage of just 33 inside the arc highlighted where the game was lost for Finland.
A stellar display by Bojan Bogdanovic helped Croatia secure an opening day success in a shootout with Finland.
As expected, the Finns continued their form of the Additional Qualifying Round and hit the ground running in an entertaining and high-tempo first quarter.
With nothing really dropping under the basket, they had to light it up from outside with an impressive six of eight triples handed them a valuable 26-25 lead.
Less than impressive, however, was the solitary inside score they found from 10 attempts in the opening 10 minutes as they continued to temporarily draw Croatia into something of a shootout.
The pattern continued in the second period as the energetic defence of the Finnish team laid the foundations to move 35-29 in front before yet another three-pointer, this time from Mikko Koivisto, took their advantage to double digits at 42-31.
Croatia finally found an extra gear to respond and did so in fine style with a 10-0 burst to finish the half as Finland watched their lead almost evaporate.
In the second half, it was Bogdanovic who had the hot hand and three triples inside four minutes continued the Croatian momentum as they built up an eight point lead.
Nevertheless, Finland stuck around and fought back to set up an exciting finish as a three by Shawn Huff brought them to within one point at 67-66 and it was still a one point game with just ninety seconds remaining.
However it wasn't to be as Croatia held their nerve with three points in the corner from Damir Markota making the difference down the stretch.
Despite failing to chalk up a win, the passion for EuroBasket in Finland is palpable.
In addition to a healthy contingent of fans cheering the team, Finnish Sport and Culture minister Paavo Arhinmäki was also present in Alytus having turned down the option to attend the opening of a new cultural centre in Finland in favour travelling to watch the national team instead
He explained, "You have to make choices in life and I chose basketball."