Lauri Markkanen has achieved a historic gala for Finland at the European Basketball Championships. The NBA pro almost single-handedly knocked out title contenders Croatia.

An outstanding Lauri Markkanen led Finland into the quarter-finals of the European Basketball Championships with a record-breaking performance.

In the 94:86 (45:43) victory over Croatia in the round of 16, the NBA professional from the Utah Jazz scored 43 points in Berlin. Never before has a Finn scored so many points at a major tournament (Olympics, World Cup, European Championships). Markkanen also recorded nine rebounds.

In the round of the last eight, the Finns will meet world champions Spain on Tuesday, who had eliminated Lithuania after a thriller on Saturday (102:94 n.V.).

The Croatians’ best scorer on Sunday was Bojan Bogdanovic (23 points). For the title contenders, star centre Ivica Zubac was benched for almost the entire game.

European Basketball Championship: Poland defeats Ukraine

Earlier, Poland had booked their ticket to the quarter-finals.

In a hard-fought game against neighbouring Ukraine, the team of national coach Igor Milicic won 94:86 (42:45). On Wednesday, defending champions Slovenia with superstar Luka Doncic will be waiting for them.

After a slightly better start for the Polish team, Ukraine responded, came close with several threes and went into the dressing room with a narrow half-time lead. After the break it remained close.

Point guard A.J. Slaughter (24 points) and small forward Mateusz Ponitka (22) were the outstanding players for the world number 13.

Ukraine’s NBA pros Svyatoslav Mychaylyuk (12) and Alex Len (9) did not score enough.