Doncic and Co. cruise as Slovenia open Olympic bid with statement win
KAUNAS (Lithuania) - Slovenia laid down a marker at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Kaunas as they brushed aside Angola in emphatic fashion with a 118-68 win.
The reigning FIBA EuroBasket champions put on a clinic at both ends of the floor with eight different players in double figures. The win ensures both Slovenia and Poland advance to the Semi-Finals, with Angola on the outside looking in.
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Turning point: Slovenia came out ready to play with back-to-back threes from Vlatko Cancar part of an ominous 13-0 opening. The lead quickly passed the 20-point mark and continued to grow with Slovenia putting up 64 points in the first half and they would break the century barrier in the final quarter to wrap up a comprehensive win.
Game heroes: Luka Doncic turned on the style with 13 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds and 5 steals in just 17 minutes of action to mark a return to international competition. Zoran Dragic top Slovenia's scoring effort with 16 points, while Mike Tobey set the tone defensively - keeping Yanick Moreira quiet early on - and also chipped in an efficient 12 points in his first competitive game for Slovenia.
Stats don't lie: Angola were not given anything easily and struggled to put points on the board, starting 1-of-8 from inside the arc through the first 10 minutes. By then, Slovenia had already raced clear. 10 different players contributed to Slovenia's 18-of-39 success from beyond the arc.
Bottom line: Slovenia have signalled their intentions with the most impressive display in the tournament so far. A far tougher test, though, awaits tomorrow when they take on Poland to decide the final group standings. While it was an early elimination for Angola from their Tokyo 2020 ambitions, the court provided lessons to be learned for a young group, particularly ahead of the upcoming FIBA AfroBasket 2021 in August.
They said: "The most important thing for us was to win the game. We wanted to start the tournament well, especially on the defensive end. I think the guys did a great job on the court and the coaching staff prepared the players well and everything was easier on offense also. We have big respect to Angola and this is why we approached this game at the highest possible level." - Slovenia head coach, Aleksander Sekulic.