The second day of FIBA Eurobasket 2013 was one for the books, as the hosts used their homecourt advantage to hammer out a decision over the defending champions. In the nightcap, a former defending champion blazed through the mid-game and held on for a tough win.
Goran Dragic, shown here in a Phoenix Suns uniform, scored 17 points in Slovenia's win against Spain in FIBA Eurobasket action on Thursday.
Group C: Slovenia 78, Spain 69
In a game expected to be a matchup of prime guards, Slovenia took better care of the ball to steal the game from defending Eurobasket champions Spain. Trailing most of the way, Slovenia's Dragic brothers then went on a scoring binge to take the lead early in the fourth quarter. While Spain did regain the advantage momentarily, the Slovenians, boosted by the home crowd, went on an 18-8 run to put out the Spanish fire. The hosts also capitalised on two crucial turnovers as Spain tried desperately to advance the ball up against Slovenia's suffocating defense.
Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic topscored for Slovenia with 18 points, with younger brother Zoran adding 12. Spain was led by Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, who struggled on 6-of-12 shooting on his way to 17 points, and Rudy Fernandez, who added 14. Spain had 14 turnovers to only 5 for Slovenia.
In other Group C games in Celje, Croatia fought past Georgia 77-76 and Czech Republic edged Poland, 69-68.
Group B: Greece 80, Russia 71
In the last game in Koper, Greece blitzed through the middle two quarters and never looked back against Russia. Trailing the Russians 20-27 with 8 minutes left in the second quarter, Greece outscored their opponents 21-7 for the rest of the period, enjoying a six-point lead at halftime. They also used a balanced attack in the third quarter, beating Russia 21-13, and lorded it over the boards, 32-24. While the Russians tried to fight back, they simply had no more steam left as Greece made clutch plays down the homestretch to keep the victory.
Greece had 5 players scoring 9 points or more, led by Vassilis Spanoulis and Kostas Kaimakoglou with 11 points each. Russia was spearheaded by Alexey Shved who had little support from the rest of his team. Shved also had 5 of Russia's 17 turnovers and accounted for only 3 rebounds, way off his average.
In other Group D action, Finland waylaid Sweden 81-60 behind Gerald Lee's 14 points and Italy blasted Turkey, 90-75.
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