Turning Point: With Slovenia down by one, Erazem Lorbek hit a lay-up and added a bonus from the foul line to put them up 61-59 inside the last two minutes of the game. From that point on, Slovenia didn't let go of the lead and finished the game with an 11-0 run.
Game Hero: EJ Rowland ended up on the losing side but his performance tonight - 20 points, nine rebounds and three steals - was the reason Bulgaria put up a great fight and almost stole a win from Slovenia.
Stats Don't Lie: Both teams suffered from a cold shooting hand behind the arc on the opening day. Bulgaria hit three times from long range out of 21 attempts while Slovenia needed 26 shots to collect three downtown bombs as well.
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Slovenia collected their first win at EuroBasket 2011 with a 67-59 defeat of Bulgaria in Group D played in Klaipeda.
It was anything but easy for Slovenia who needed an 11-0 run in the closing minutes to stop Bulgaria from producing an upset.
Slovenia jumped to a 1-0 record in the group next to Georgia, while Bulgaria join Belgium with a 0-1 record.
Erazem Lorbek had 18 points and nine rebounds and his leadership down the stretch led Slovenia to victory.
Goran Dragic added 13 points, six assist and six rebounds and his brother Zoran finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.
EJ Rowland was the top player for Bulgaria with 20 points, nine rebounds and three steals while Captain Filip Videnov added 14 points.
"It was tougher than expected," admitted Jaka Lakovic of Slovenia. "But the most important thing is that we won the game and started EuroBasket with a win."
Both teams had a bad shooting day from three-point territory, each hitting just three times from beyond the arc but they lacked in accuracy - Bulgaria shot 14% and Slovenia were no better at 12%.
Bulgaria came very close to shocking the spectators and used the support of the local fans to silence Slovenia with a 57-51 lead inside the last five minutes.
However, Lorbek and the Dragic brothers stepped up right on time to deliver the win.
Lorbek scored his first points late in the first quarter to make it 17-11 but Rowland kept his team close and already had 10 points in the second quarter.
Slovenia were up 23-18 but Deyan Ivanov and Filip Videnov cut the deficit to 29-25 at the half time break, and early in the third it was only just a one point game, 33-32.
That was when Slovenia made their first run.
The Dragic brothers and Lorbek created a 10-0 run and set the first double-digit lead of the night, 43-32, but after a lay-up by Goran Jagodnik things stopped to happen for Slovenia.
Rowland and Videnov led Bulgaria on a 2-13 run and after Matjaz Smodis fouled out with a technical foul and Bulgaria took a 51-57 lead it seemed like trouble.
"We didn't get nervous when Bulgaria took the lead, because we knew there's still time on the clock," said Lakovic after the game.
"We stayed together and played much better defense and that's what won the game for us."
Lorbek with a quick three pointer followed by the Zoran and Goran Dragic put Slovenia back in the game, before Lorbek added a bucket with a bonus from the line to put his team back on top, 61-59 and never looked back.
On Thursday, Slovenia will take on Ukraine while Bulgaria and Belgium will fight for the debut win.