t was his fourth double of the season and fifth extra-bas

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LJUBLJANA, Slovenia -- Croatia reached the semifinals of the European basketball championship for the first time in 18 years by defeating Ukraine 84-72 Thursday. Trai Turner Jersey . Croatia will play Lithuania, which edged Italy 81-77. France and two-time defending champion Spain will play the other semifinal on Friday. Croatia has won eight straight games since losing its opening game of the tournament to Spain by 28 points. "Its a long time since weve been in the semifinals. That was the first target for this young, talented generation, but this story is too beautiful to stop here," Croatia coach Jasmin Repesa said. "Honestly, we expected to be in the semis, we have quality and a system." Croatia is seeking to make the podium for the first time since it took bronze at the 1995 tournament in Greece, where it fell to Lithuania in the semifinals. The only time Croatia played in a final was at the 1992 Olympics, when it lost to the U.S. Dream Team. Dontaye Draper, Croatias American-born point guard, had two steals and six points in a key 13-0 run at the start of the second quarter, when Ukraine failed to score in five minutes and had three turnovers while missing five straight 3-point attempts. "I looked at my teammates and I heard them say, Ajde, and I just tried to get some energy, to get something going, even a foul, anything," said Draper, who finished with six assists and four steals to go with six points. Ajde is Croatian for "come on." Croatia used relentless zone pressing to lead by as many as 19. "The second quarter was our demise, we lost control of the game then," Ukraine coach Mike Fratello said. "We gave the ball away 17 times and you cant do that against a team like this." Shooting guard Krunoslav Simon led Croatia with 23 points, while Pooh Jeter, another American-born point guard, had 19 points, six rebounds and six assists for Ukraine, which was in the quarterfinals for the first time. "We were completely lost in the second quarter," said Viacheslav Kravtsov, Ukraines NBA centre. Lithuania won the European title in 2003 and was bronze medallist at the 2010 worlds. But it has not made the podium in Europe since the 2007 bronze and lost in the quarterfinals at home two years ago. Lithuania had a big size advantage over Italy and it was centre Donatas Motiejunas who had a pair of important consecutive layups in the fourth. Since winning a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics, Italy has not been able to reach the quarterfinals in any major competition. It failed to qualify for the last two Olympics and last world championship. "They destroyed us in the low post at the start of the fourth, they have too much size. When you are tired they can use the size for easy baskets," Italy coach Simone Pianigiani said. Earlier, Slovenia earned a place in next years World Cup by beating Serbia 92-74. Slovenia will play for fifth place and Serbia for seventh on Saturday. Ukraine and Italy will decide on Friday which of them will meet Slovenia. Seventh place will earn a spot at the World Cup because host Spain is a direct qualifier and already in the European semifinals. Mario Addison Jersey . Huntington doesnt want to help run the club unless Hurdle is in the dugout. The combination thats returned the franchise to respectability will remain intact for years to come. Julius Peppers Jersey . Showing more spark after not taking enough challenging shots on goal in their 1-0 loss Friday night, the Bruins had 18 shots in the first period after managing just 25 in the entire opener. Luke Glendening cut Bostons lead to 2-1 at 13:20 of the second period before Milan Lucic scored late in the second and Zdeno Chara added a power-play goal early in the third. http://www.thepanthersofficialstore.com/ . A police inspector told The Associated Press the crane operator is not yet suspected of any wrongdoing but is considered a key witness to the accident at the Arena Corinthians.SEATTLE -- Justin Smoak had already done his part by hitting a go-ahead double in the eighth inning. But when Fernando Rodney struggled in the ninth, it was Smoak who made another huge play to keep Seattle from blowing the lead. Smoaks two-run double put his team ahead, and his diving catch of Adrian Beltres line drive in the ninth turned into a game-ending double play as the Mariners held on for a 6-5 win over the Texas Rangers on Friday night. Smoaks double was crucial. It drove in the first runs this season for Seattle in the eighth inning and sparked a four-run rally for the Mariners. But his grab in the ninth trumped what he did at the plate. Beltres ball was hit so hard, there was no time for Smoak to think. All he could do was dive, stretch and hope. "I kind of blacked out there for a second. Just jumped and stretched as far as I could stretch and it went into the glove," Smoak said. Robinson Cano had a two-run double for the Mariners, who won consecutive games for the first time since the opening week of the season. Canos double was the only time the Mariners got to Texas starter Robbie Ross Jr., but they battered reliever Neal Cotts (1-2) in the eighth inning, scoring four times to end the Rangers win streak at three games. With no outs and the bases loaded, Smoak avoided the temptation of two inside pitches from Cotts and worked the count full. Then he lined a pitch down the left-field line and just out of the reach of Michael Choice, allowing Cano and pinch-runner Michael Saunders to score the go-ahead runs. Seattle had been outscored 18-0 in the eighth inning heading into Fridays game. The Mariners had not won two straight since their three-game sweep of the Angels to open the season. The Mariners rally started thanks to Cano, who led off the eighth with a single on the first pitch. Corey Hart worked a full count before being hit on the knee by Cotts pitch -- the fourth Seattle batter to be hit by a pitch -- and Stefan Romero loaded the bases with a bunt single. Thats when Smoak came through wwith his fifth double. Scott Simonson Jersey. Kyle Seager added an RBI single and Smoak scored on a wild pitch from Alexi Ogando for a 6-3 lead. The Mariners ended up needing all those runs because although Rodney got his fourth save, he made it uncomfortable in the ninth. He loaded the bases with one out and wasnt helped when Smoak couldnt handle the relay from Cano on a possible double play early in the inning. Rodney then walked Choice and Elvis Andrus to force in runs and make it 6-5. Beltre hit a liner that appeared headed for the outfield. Smoak snared it and doubled Andrus off first to end the game. "Thats Fernando. Sometimes hes going to have you on the top step. In the end he gets it done," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. "Probably not all his doing. We could have made it a lot easier for him if we turned the double play." Seattle relievers Dominic Leone and Yoervis Medina (1-1) bridged the late innings after starter Roenis Elias lasted 5 2-3 innings. Leones wild pitch that allowed Prince Fielder to score with two outs in the sixth was the difference until the late rally. Ross threw six innings, giving up six hits and two runs. He has gone 84 batters without issuing a walk. His lone trouble came when he hit Abraham Almonte with a pitch with two outs and then gave up a single to Willie Bloomquist. Cano followed by lining a double off the wall in left-centre, scoring both runners. It was his fourth double of the season and fifth extra-base hit. "Its frustrating because you want to get the guys before you have to face him," Ross said. NOTES: Texas C J.P. Arencibia snapped an 0-for-19 skid with a double leading off the third. It was his third hit of the season and first since April 6. ... Injured Seattle LHP James Paxton threw for the first time since straining a back muscle this month. Paxton threw from 45 feet. Injured RHP Taijuan Walker (shoulder) is expected to start throwing on Monday. ... Seattle Seahawks DE Michael Bennett threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '

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