Slovenia Survive Scare For Seventh Spot

17.09.2011

EUROBASKET 2011

Turning Point: After going scoreless for eight minutes and having seen a 13-point lead evaporate completely, Jaka Lakovic made a big three-pointer with just over a minute of the game to play and it swung the momentum back to Slovenia just at the right time.

Game Heroes: Lakovic finished with 15 points after making five of his six attempts from long-range while Goran Dragic finished with a game-high 21 points.

Stats Don't Lie: There was no disguising Serbia's intent with 46 points in the paint but they only managed to make 3 of 15 from outside and that hurt them.

5. Jaka Lakovic (Slovenia), 8. Nemanja Bjelica (Serbia)
Jaka Lakovic was nearly perfect from behind the arc (5-for-6), with his last three-pointer effectively deciding the game

 

Slovenia survived a last quarter drought against Serbia to sign off their EuroBasket campaign with a seventh place finish.

The 72-68 success was also their last competitive game for quite some time since their next won't be until their first game as hosts of the next tournament in two years.

Serbia meanwhile suffered a repeat of their slow start against Greece, although at least this time they managed to stop their slide so it wasn't necessarily fatal in the context of the game.

They found themselves down by a double-figure margin at 12-2 inside the first three minutes. This time though, they responded and didn't allow the situation to deteriorate further in an entertaining first period.

In fact, through some improved defence and a more aggressive approach offensively, they managed to not only claw back the deficit but even grabbed the lead at 20-19.

However they weren't in front for long when Sasa Ozbolt converted back to back triples and Edo Muric threw down a one handed dunk to ensure Slovenia scored the last eight points of the period.

Their run continued when the play resumed with Matjaz Smodis and Muric continuing their team's success from downtown which saw them score eight three-pointers ahead of the interval.

Serbia was briefly back on the ropes but they scored seven of the last nine points to ensure they only trailed 44-39 heading into the second half.



However things looked bleak by the end of the third when they still trailed by 13 points at 64-51, but it was all change. Not for the first time in the tournament, Slovenia imploded again on offence and dried up completely.

Serbia registered 13 unanswered points to level the scores with Slovenia only managing to score a single free-throw in eight minutes.

With two minutes remaining, Serbia managed to take the lead again but with Lakovic in great form from three-point range, he made a decisive play just at the right time before Erazem Lorbek completed the assignment with a nice baseline jump-shot.


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