The Slovenia Times

EuroBasket: Slovenia Beat Serbia to Qualify for World Cup


* Stožice Arena, 5,730 spectators, referees: Rocha (Portugal), Koromilas (Greece), Dodds (UK)
* Slovenia: Lakovič 7, Balažič 9, Murić 3, Blažič 15, Nachbar 7, G. Dragić, Z. Dragić 23, Vidmar 3, Begić 10
* Serbia: Nedović 8, Mičić 7, Bogdanović 11, Bjelica 5, Marković 4, Kalinić 1, Gagić 12, N. Krstić 16, Katić 6, Štimac 4
* Free throws: Slovenia 33/42, Serbia 24/32
* Two-point shooting: Slovenia 13/31, Serbia 22/46
* Three-point shooting: Slovenia 11/27 (Blažič 3, Z. Dragić 3, Lakovič, Balažič, Murić, Nachbar, G. Dragić), Serbia 2/18 (Bogdanović, Nedović)
* Rebounds: Slovenia 38 (27 + 11), Serbia 43 (29 + 14)
* Personal fouls: Slovenia 28, Serbia 32

Slovenia bounced back from Wednesday's heartbreaking loss to France in the packed Stožice Arena, starting the match against Serbia furiously to secure an early 10-point lead.

Slovenia's lead increased to 14 at the end of the first quarter, but Slovenia's players continued to push the tempo in a bid to secure the win early, managing to increase the margin to 17 points midway the second period.

Guard Zoran Dragić continued to punish the Serbs in the second half, building the lead to 23 points (game high) in the 25th minute. Slovenia were more or less on cruise control thereafter, never letting Serbia to come closer than 14 points.

Dragić was huge for Slovenia, scoring 23 points and grabbing 9 rebounds, while Serbian veteran centre Nenad Krstić was the top performer in his team with 16 points.

Dragić told reporters after the match he was happy that the team gave their best today to get a well-deserved win, adding that the World Cup was one of the goals set before the start of EuroBasket.

Six spots at the World Cup are reserved for European teams but the first seven nations at EuroBasket will play at the tournament, as Spain, who will be among the top four teams at EuroBasket, have automatically qualified as the host nation.

Slovenia will play the 5th place match on Saturday with the winner of Friday's match between the losers of today's quarter-final matches (Croatia vs Ukraine and Lithuania vs Italy).

"We will be fully prepared for the next match. I would also like to thank all the fans for supporting us despite the loss to France," Dragić added.


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