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ISTANBUL (FIBA World Championship) – Slovenia have barely raised a sweat in disposing of Australia
87-58 in the Eight Finals at the FIBA World Championship.
It was an ominous performance by the fourth placed team from last year’s Eurobasket, and they did it thanks to a full board of contributors highlighted by Jaka Lakovic, who had 11 first half points on his way to 19 for the game. Primoz Brezec (12 points) and Goran Dragic (10 points) led the rest.
Australia itself has been suffering a long period of drought and it carried onto the basketball court in the first quarter, Slovenia leading 12-0 after nearly seven minutes. While Australia made a brief 6-0 run through Matt Nielsen and Patrick Mills, the quarter time score was 16-8.
When Lakovic and Sani Becirovic started the second quarter with consecutive triples the margin was 14, but worse was to come for Australia. The Boomers shot just 6/27 and gave up 9 turnovers for the half, and when Lakovic capped a 10-3 run with a three-pointer leading into half time the score was 42-21.
The second half was a more even affair but the game had long been decided. Slovenia won the third quarter 29-24, and the final term 16-13.
It was Australia’s largest defeat at a FIBA World Championship against an opponent not named the USA or the USSR. For the Boomers only Mills, Nielsen and Joe Ingles made it into double figures.
Slovenia now face the winner of the Turkey v France game in the FIBA World Championship Quarter Finals.
Slovenia guard Goran Dragic: "It's a fantastic feeling to have made it to the Quarter-Finals of the competition. We have worked so hard to arrive here and I think we did a great job today. We came out very strong, executed well and kept our focus from start to finish."
Australia captain Matthew Nielsen: "Slovenia are very strong and they proved that today. They executed very well and our execution was terrible. Having said that, I don't think we are far off from Slovenia's level which might sound a ridiculous comment to make today. But we are without several players and we can play much better than this, we just didn't show it today."