Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dragic brothers star as Slovenia upset Italy

Eyes on the prize: Marco Belinelli of Italy and Mirza Begic of Slovenia look at the ball entering the basket during the FIBA European basketball championships second round match between Slovenia and Italy in Ljubljana.

Eyes on the prize: Marco Belinelli of Italy and Mirza Begic of Slovenia look at the ball entering the basket during the FIBA European basketball championships second round match between Slovenia and Italy in Ljubljana. Photo: AFP

Hosts Slovenia handed Italy their first defeat of the 2013 European basketball championship with an 84-77 victory on Thursday while Greece beat Spain to remain alive for another "war".

The Dragic brothers, Goran and Zoran, combined for 37 points - 22 and 15 respectively - while Bostjan Nachbar added 13 points and six assists as Slovenia improved to 2-1 in Group F of the second round.

Italy were the Cinderella of the first round as they went through their first round group with a perfect 5-0 record despite missing a number of their best players. But they could not keep up the momentum in front of a boisterous crowd at Stozice Arena in the Slovenian capital.

Alessandro Gentile collected 20 points for Italy, who dropped to 2-1 in the group.

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Reigning Euroleague MVP Vassilis Spanoulis poured in 20 points as Greece downed Spain 79-75 to remain alive in the group with a 1-2 record.

"It was a good win. But we are still in hell and we have to keep walking," said Greek coach Andrea Trinchieri.

Greece will next take on hosts Slovenia, to which the coach said: "Another war. Every game is a war."

Greece put themselves in a tough situation by losing their final two games in the first round and giving them an 0-2 record to start the second group stage. The Greeks almost need two more wins to reach the quarter-finals.

"We are here for three finals now. We won the first one, then we have the second one. If we don't win the second one, it will be like we didn't win today," said Spanoulis.

In the day's first game, Damjan Rudez scored 17 points and Bojan Bogdanovic added 15 points in Croatia's 88-63 blowout of Finland.

Croatia jumped to 2-1 while Finland dropped to 1-2 despite 10 points from Shawn Huff.

The competition continues Friday with action in Group E as Lithuania (2-1) take on Belgium (0-3), Ukraine (1-2) square off against group leaders Serbia (3-0), and France (2-1) face Latvia (1-2).

AFP


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