The Slovenia Times

Basketball: Slovenia Open World Cup With a Win


It was obvious from the start that the match will be tough, but Slovenia managed to earn a 10-point advantage two minutes to go in the first quarter with good shooting and terrific plays by NBA star guard Goran Dragić, who scored 9 points in the period.

Slovenia did not let go at the start of the second period, increasing the lead to 13 points with a three-pointer by Jure Balažič. Australia however had no intention of surrendering, cutting the lead to six points by the half-time whistle.

"The Boomers" kept pressing in the fourth quarter, closing in to 50:51 early in the period, but Dragić took control of the match to secure Slovenia a comfortable lead coming into the last period (69:60).

Slovenia opened the last period with a 9:2 run to take the biggest lead of the match (78:62) six minutes to go, but allowed Australia to come close and threaten Slovenia's win in the last minutes with the tough zone defence.

Dragić was happy with the effort displayed by his team. "We outrebounded them. They are a very physical team, they pressed us all the time, wanted to wear us down, but we kept our heads cool and deservedly won", he told reporters.

Dragić was the top scorer for Slovenia with 21 points, with Domen Lorbek adding 13, while Australia was led by centre Aron Baynes, who poured in 21 points before exiting the match late in the 4th quarter due to injury.

The next match for Slovenia comes on Sunday against Mexico. The group that plays in the newly-opened Gran Canaria Arena in Las Palmas also features Lithuania, Angola and South Korea.

Slovenia need to finish among the top four in the preliminary group, which would take them to the single-game elimination round of 16, to be played in Madrid and Barcelona on 6 and 7 September.

The team is looking not to finish fourth to avoid playing the reigning world champions United States in the knock-out stage.


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