Slovenia avoided a major upset with a strong fourth quarter in an 88-72 victory over Belgium, sending the reigning champions into the Quarter-Finals of the FIBA EuroBasket 2022.
The crowd of 9,774 spectators at the EuroBasket Arena Berlin saw Belgium give Slovenia everything they could take for three quarters. In the end, it was more Luka Doncic history that made the difference.
Turning Point: Slovenia built an 11-point first-quarter lead and watched as Belgium neared to within two points – 29-27 – and trailed just 44-41 at the break. The underdogs were not ready to die and stayed close in the third quarter and even pulled ahead 64-63 in the final frame. The game was even 65-65 with under 9 minutes to play when Slovenia took control with a 17-0 run to blow the game wide open.
TCL Player of the Game: No surprise here: Luka Doncic has been a force of nature all tournament, and the NBA superstar carried his team with 35 points, five assists, five rebounds, and four steals. Doncic became the first player to score 30+ points in three consecutive EuroBasket games in the last 30 years.
Stats Don’t Lie: Slovenia committed only six turnovers compared to 13 for Belgium, while the Balkan side made 23-of-25 free throws to just 7-of-8 for the Belgians.
Bottom Line: Slovenia is just three steps from defending their title and has guaranteed a Top 8 spot in the EuroBasket for the seventh time in the last eight editions. Next up will be the winner between Ukraine and Poland on Wednesday, September 14.