|27 August 2012|
|Austria have anything but given up hope for a spot at EuroBasket 2013 and no one embodies their fighting spirit better than Rasid Mahalbasic, who leads the team in scoring and rebounds|
Croatia had better not look past Austria when the teams meet on Monday in the EuroBasket Qualification Round.
Austria, who are led by coach Nedeljko Asceric, have looked very good at times in their three Group C games.
While they own just a single victory against Cyprus, 89-86, that win came on the road.
Also encouraging for the Austrians is that both Ukraine and Hungary endured big struggles against them.
Ukraine won 61-57 at Schwechat on 18 August, but they trailed 57-54 midway through the fourth quarter after a basket by Austria's Rasid Mahalbasic.
Asceric's team then went ice cold the rest of the way, failing to score.
Three days later and Hungary won their clash, 81-75, in Szombathely, but only after making key plays late.
Jason Detrick's three-pointer had given Austria a 69-66 advantage with 4:18 to play.
Péter Lóránt, who had 19 points and 10 rebounds, scored to start an 8-0 that put Hungary in front to stay.
Asceric says the games that ended in narrow defeats for his players have been "discussed and analyzed."
There is not a sense Austria cannot accomplish their aim of booking a spot in the EuroBasket Final Round in Slovenia anymore.
According to Asceric, the players are still in a "good mood".
What may work to their advantage on Monday is that Austria didn't have a game on Friday, giving them additional time to prepare for Croatia (3-0).
"We want to compete," Asceric said.
"We will need to have our best basketball.
"If we reach our (optimum) level, we can annoy Croatia."