25 August, 2023
10 September
77 Luka Doncic (SLO), 30 Zoran Dragic (SLO)
Game Report
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Deep Slovenia send Boomers home, clinch Quarter-Final seat

OKINAWA (Japan) - Slovenia used a big fourth quarter to finish off Australia, 91-80, to reach the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Quarter-Finals, Friday night at the Okinawa Arena.


Luka Doncic overcame foul trouble and finished with 19 points, including a deep three-pointer to give themselves an 88-69 lead with 1:55 left to seal the deal - and earn sweet payback against the team that beat them for the bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics two years ago.

The 24-year-old star submitted another full line with 7 rebounds and 7 assists, together with a steal and a block each. But it was really the team's all-around effort that made the win possible.

Center Mike Tobey, for one, submitted his first-ever World Cup double-double performance with 18 points and 12 rebounds, along with 5 assists without a turnover.

Shooter Klemen Prepelic supplied 11 points, while and Gregor Hrovat chipped in 10 as all 10 players fielded by Coach Aleksander Sekulic scored at least two points in the win that ousted the Boomers - touted by fans and pundits alike as one of the favorites this year - out of contention.

Turning point: Slovenia saw their double-digit lead become just two early in the final period with Josh Giddey carrying Australia. But Hrovat, Aleksej Nikolic, and Tobey joined hands for seven consecutive points to establish a 73-64 lead with seven minutes remaining.

It would be all Slovenia from then on, with Doncic leading an 8-0 run - capped by a Prepelic trifecta - to establish an 81-66 advantage with under four minutes left to play.

The Boomers managed to come within just nine but 26 seconds were not enough to mount another comeback, and they could only watch their foes celebrate as the buzzer sounded.

TCL Player of the Game: Tobey netted a 33 EFF rating in a performance that made him only the second player with 15-plus points, 10-plus rebounds, and 5-plus assists in a FIBA World Cup game, after teammate Doncic had 34-10-6 against Georgia back in the First Round.


Stats don't lie: Slovenia might have shot below their average from downtown at 31-percent, but they were near unstoppable inside the arc, scoring on 73.1 percent of their two-point shots.

Bottomline: It was indeed a disappointing run for Australia, especially after reaching the Semi-Finals of the 2019 World Cup in China and ultimately finished fourth.

Slovenia, on the other hand, will try to finish as the no. 1 seed of Group K when they take on fellow 4-0 team in Germany on Sunday night in a battle of European contenders.

They said: "It was a very hard game. Australia had to win no matter what. We went into the game like we have to win no matter what. They have a great team, great players. But I'm really proud of how we played today. Everybody was together, and we just stayed together no matter what." - Luka Doncic, Slovenia

"When you get into a game like this and there's a lot of pressure, who you are comes out. And we're a step off it right now." - Brian Goorjian, Head Coach, Australia

Press conference: