By Adriana Garcia Senchermes
Turning Point: With the game tied at 29-29 late in the second quarter, Slovenia went on a 20-3 run over the next nine minutes to pull away.
Hero: Slovenia center Erazem Lorbek had 10 points in that crucial run and finished with a game-high 20 points. Lorbek also pulled down nine rebounds and dished out five assists while blocking one shot.
Key Stats: Slovenia finished 19 of 33 (58%) shooting from inside the arc while Poland were 15 of 39 (38%).
Slovenia forced Poland into making 15 turnovers.
Slovenia broke open a close game in the third quarter and stormed to a 76-60 triumph over Poland to clinch a spot in the EuroBasket Quarter-Finals on Monday night in Lodz.
Erazem Lorbek scored a game-high 20 points and also pulled down nine rebounds for the winners, who prevailed for the fourth time in five games at this year's event.
Jure Zdovc's team led just 31-29 at half-time but held Poland to just one point over the first seven minutes of the third quarter while opening a 46-30 lead.
|Jure Zdovc had led his troops into the Quarter-Finals.|
They went in front by as many as 20 points in the second half and cruised to victory.
"When we went into the break trailing by two points, I knew it was going to be very difficult for us," admitted Poland coach Muli Katzurin.
"In the second half we had a bad shooting percentage and we made many turnovers and against a quality team like Slovenia, they make you pay for your mistakes."
Slovenia have faced a lot of adversity this year with numerous players unable to take part due to injury-related problems, including guards NBA guards Beno Udrih and Sasha Vujacic and Lottomatica Roma's Sani Becirovic.
Matjaz Smodis, the captain of the national team, has also been unable to compete because of a back injury and star guard Goran Dragic also missed the Poland game with a knee injury.
Yet Zdovc's team hasn't missed a beat with their only loss an overtime defeat to Spain in Group C.
"I need to congratulate my players," said Slovenia coach Jure Zdovc. "We have struggled with injuries but those players that have gone on the court have given everything they have. We deserved this win."
Poland started well with a 7-0 run giving them an 8-4 advantage and they had a 17-11 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Slovenia struck back with an 8-0 spurt in the second quarter putting them on top at 19-17.
Five consecutive points by Goran Jagodnik, including a three-ball, and a basket by Uros Slokar increased the lead to 29-22 with 3:14 to go in the first half.
Poland reeled off seven straight points and knotted the game at 29-29 on a lay-up from Szymon Szewczyk before Slovenia took command.
David Logan and Szymon Szewczyk had 15 points apiece for Poland.
Slovenia will now go into their final Qualifying Round Group F game against Turkey safe gunning for first place.