Luka Doncic sets up a remarkable turnaround for Slovenia

2024-07-04T18:29:11+00:00 2024-07-05T07:40:28+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

04/Jul/24 18:29

Requiring a win by a margin of ten points to qualify, Slovenia nears the mark to advance as the top seed

By Aris Barkas/

Athens, Greece – Slovenia defeated New Zealand, 104-78, and ranked second in Group A of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Piraeus on Thursday.

Despite struggling to connect from beyond the arc, Luka Doncic and his teammates rushed over the 10-point mark, necessary to progress. Chasing the 29-point mark, essential to advance as the top seed, described most of the second half but the lead peaked at 27 points.

Packing 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists over 35 minutes, Doncic registered a second consecutive triple-double in the tournament. Taking the second and final three-pointer to clinch the top seed with time running out, Doncic missed and ended up with 9/25 field goals. Josh Nebo posted a 20-point, 12-rebound double-double and Klemen Prepelic chipped in 14 points, eight assists, six rebounds, and two steals.

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In the next round as the top seed, Croatia will face the second seed of Group B, later confirmed as the Dominican Republic, on Saturday.

Second-seeded Slovenia will meet the top team of Group B, Greece.

“He is a great player, it’s going to be tough”, said Doncic while speaking to the Slovenian national television about the potential match-up with Giannis Antetokounmpo in a knockout semifinal game which may end up being the most memorable of the qualifiers before the Paris Olympics.

From the Semifinals to the Final on Sunday, the OQT winner places in Group A of the 2024 Olympic Games alongside Australia, Canada, and the winner of the Valencia OQT.

Forced to the wrong end of a three-way tie at 1-1, the team coached by Pero Cameron was eliminated. Bowing out with a double-double, Shea Ili combined 28 points and 10 rebounds.


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