The Slovenia Times

EuroBasket: Slovenia Beat Ukraine to Claim 5th Overall Spot


* Stožice Arena, 10,000 spectators, referees: Kristodulu (Greece), Rocha (Portugal), Jovčić (Serbia)
* Slovenia: Slokar 2, Balažič 3, Murić 9, Blažič 9, Nachbar 9, G. Dragić 19, Z. Dragić 6, Vidmar 8, Begić 4
* Ukraine: Pustozvonov 3, Jeter 12, Mishula 4, Gljebov 2, Gliebov 6, Lypovyy 10, Natyazhko 9), Korniyenko 3, Zaytsev 12, Pustovyi 2
* Free throws: Slovenia 9/14, Ukraine 13/21
* Two-point shooting: Slovenia 18/39, Ukraine 16/37
* Three-point shooting: Slovenia 8/26 (Blažič 3, G. Dragić 2, Balažič, Nachbar, Murić), Ukraine 6/22 (Gladyr 2, Pustozvonov, Jeter, Lypovyy, Zaytsev)
* Rebounds: Slovenia 48 (28 + 20), Ukraine 34 (19 + 15)
* Personal fouls: Slovenia 21, Ukraine 19

Ukraine won the first quarter with 23:16, but Slovenia returned to the match with a 11:0 run to go to the halftime break with a four-point lead. Slovenia quickly increased the lead to 45:36, but never managed to deliver a final blow and secure the win early.

The Ukrainians came as close as four points five minutes to go, after which Slovenia's best player Goran Dragić took over, scoring five consecutive points to give Slovenia a 67:59 lead and seal the deal.

Dragić was the man of the match for Slovenia, scoring 19 points and adding 7 rebounds and 4 assists. US-born point guard Eugene Jeter was meanwhile top performer in Ukraine's ranks with 12 points and 4 assists.

Ukraine, the biggest surprise of the tournament, thus won sixth place at EuroBasket, improving on their previous best, the 13th place in 1997 in Spain. They announced that they should be reckoned with in 2015 when they will be hosting the European championships.

After the final whistle, Slovenian players stayed on the court to thank the fans for support. Captain Jaka Lakovič said that "while we don't have the gold medal, we have golden fans," and Boštjan Nachbar added that "what is more important from a medal is that we brought Slovenians together."

Lakovič (35) is bidding farewell from the national team after he played for Slovenia at seven European championships and two world championships, while the contract with head coach Božidar Maljković is expiring after the tournament.

EuroBasket 2013 in Slovenia will conclude on Sunday with the third-place match at 5:30 (Spain-Croatia) and the gold medal game at 9 PM (Lithuania-France).


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