Improved Spain Defeat Slovenia, But Only Just

09 July 2010
Spain head coach Juan Antonio Orenga was left breathing a huge sigh of relief after his team squeezed past Slovenia 66-61 having almost pressed the self destruct button in the closing stages of their second game in the U20 European Championship 2010 in Croatia.

A defeat for the Spanish team was unthinkable in the wake of their opening day shock loss to Germany and for the majority of the game, it had looked like the Slovenians were feeling the might of a backlash when Spain went 43-23 ahead during the third quarter.

To their credit, Slovenia staged a great fight-back and an unsportsmanlike foul by Spain with 25 seconds remaining in the contest handed them an outside shot of causing an upset. However while the free-throws were sunk to cut the margin to five points, they couldn't execute on the following possession to set up a thrilling finale.

Still without the highly talented Nikola Mirotic, coach Orenga was simply pleased his team improved and managed to record a first victory in the tournament.

"It was absolutely important that we won the game today because if we had lost it would have been difficult for us. We lost against Germany in the first game on a bad last play and today we played much better, " said Orenga.

"The team played with a lot of effort against a team that played a great game against Croatia.

"Our first two quarters in the tournament was absolutely horrible for us but we watched the video and today we made sure it was more similar to the way we want to play in future games."

Josep Franch finished with 18 points for Spain including three triples while Luka Dimec claimed 10 points and 8 rebounds for Slovenia.


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