Turning Point: Thomas van den Spiegel had a great game and was the reason Belgium almost stunned Slovenia, but his turnover inside the last minute with his team down by five made the difference between just a three-point game and the seven-point difference that ensued after Zoran Dragic converted the turnover into a basket at the other end.
Game Hero: Goran Dragic scored 18 points and got five steals but more important was his clutch performance. He scored eight points in the closing five minutes.
Stats Don't Lie: Slovenia shot 57% inside the arc and pulled down 14 offensive rebounds against only six for Belgium.
|Goran Dragic was clutch down the stretch for Slovenia and ensured they maintained their unbeaten record|
It was anything but easy yet Slovenia is still perfect in Group D following a 70-61 victory over Belgium at Klaipeda on Sunday night.
Goran Dragic was the top scorer of Slovenia with 18 points, no less than eight of them coming in the last five minutes.
Mirza Begic had a good night inside with 14 points and five rebounds.
Thomas Van Den Spiegel collected 16 points and seven rebounds for Belgium in a big game, and was seconded by another veteran Marcus Faison who scored 13.
"We knew that we're going to fight until the end as long as we have a chance to qualify, and that's what we brought to the floor tonight," said Van Den Spiegel.
The nine-point gap was created only in the last seconds of the game.
Before that, Belgium was on the edge of a big upset, but gave in to Slovenia's experience.
Slovenia scored the first points of the game, but saw Belgium answer with 10 points in a row to take their biggest lead of the night.
Yet, quickly the players of Coach Bozidar Maljkovic came back and, by the end of the first quarter, were within one, 15-14.
The close game continued in the second quarter and the teams went into the halftime break with Belgium up 30-29.
However, in the third quarter, Goran and Zoran Dragic took over to put their team up 50-43 lead after 29 minutes.
Van Den Spiegel and Faison showed off their offensive arsenal to bring Belgium back to life.
A three-pointer by Christophe Beghin made it 62-61 with 2:15 to play.
However, once again, Goran Dragic stepped up and made sure his team take the floor on the last day still without a single loss.
On Monday, Slovenia face Russia with the winner taking top honours in the group, while loser finishes second.
Belgium will face Ukraine in the last game to get their first win in a game that won't influence the future of these two teams.