The hosts of the U20 European Championship gave a packed Dvorana Komunalnega Centra arena a reason to celebrate as Slovenia passed their first test of the tournament with flying colours, by defeating Italy 81-68 in a Group D duel.
Having led throughout the whole game, Slovenia slowed down only for three and a half minutes in the third quarter, when Italy used a 7-0 run to tie the game at 46-46.
However, cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd and Slovenian president Danilo Turk in the stands, the hosts went on a 10-0 run almost immediately to break away once again and decide the outcome of the game for good.
Marko Pajic used his all-around game well against Italy, collecting 16 points and grabbing six rebounds, whilst Klemen Prepelic finished the game with 14, but made only 5-of-15 field goal attempts for the home team.
Marco Lagana was the key man for Italy with 18 points, as Andrea Trainini added 14 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
On Friday, Slovenia will take on Sweden, while Italy will aim to bounce back from their opening-day loss against Lithuania.