Poland defeated Slovenia with a score of 90:87 (29:26, 29:13, 6:24, 26:24).
Mateusz Ponitka led Poland to victory with 26 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists for a versatile triple-double, while Anthony Derrell Slaughter and Michal Sokolowski each added 16 points.
Luka Doncic, who ended the game before the end of regulation for the first time in the European Championship because of five personal fouls, had 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for Slovenia, while Vlatko Cancar led the way with 21 points.
By playing effectively, the Poles took the lead at the end of the first quarter, which they managed to maintain in the second half as well, at one point accumulating a 23-point advantage. Slovenia did not play well in defense, as 59 points were allowed in the first half, 16 of which were scored by Mateusz Ponitkas for Poland.
The beginning of the third quarter was successful for the Slovenians, who, using Poland’s mistakes, scored nine points after the round, and continued to reduce the deficit to one point (60:61).
At the beginning of the final quarter, the Slovenians finally took the lead, reaching 68:64, but in the middle of the final quarter, Poland gained a two-point advantage (76:74). With four minutes left in regulation time, Slovenian leader Doncic earned his fourth personal note, and less than a minute later he also received a fifth note, which forced him to leave the field.
Two and a half minutes before the end of regular time, Poland was already in the lead with eight points. Mike Toby and Goran Dragic each scored two points, but Ponitka responded with a long-range shot to restore the lead to seven points.
Once again, Slovenia reduced the deficit to three points after Poland miscued a free kick, but it was not enough to win.
Slovenia, champions in 2017, have managed to reach the last eight in seven of the last eight European Championship finals, while Poland have reached the quarter-finals for the first time since 1997.
Slovenes took first place in subgroup B, second only to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and celebrated a convincing victory over Belgium in the round of 16 with a result of 88:72.
Meanwhile, Poland’s basketball players made it three wins in Group D, defeating the Netherlands, Israel and the Czech Republic, but losing to Serbia and Finland. In the round of 16, the Poles faced the Ukrainian national team coached by Ainar Bagatsky, which they beat with 94:86.
On Tuesday, the place in the semi-finals was already secured by Spain, who beat Finland, and Germany, who were superior to Greece in a convincing fight.
After the round-robin matches, the top four teams in each group entered the playoffs.
This is the fourth time that the preliminary matches of the men’s European Championship finals have been played in four different countries.
In 2017, the players of the Slovenian national team became the European champions in basketball, winning their first title in history. Slovenia, which defeated Latvia in the quarter-finals, defeated Serbia in the final. In the fight for third place, Spain beat Russia.
The Latvian national team has participated in the finals of the European Championship 14 times, but this time they failed to qualify for the finals, remaining in the last place in Group H behind Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece and Bulgaria.
The European Championship will last until Sunday.
The next European Championship will take place in three years, with Riga hosting one of the subgroups and the elimination tournament.
This final tournament was supposed to take place in 2021, but since the Tokyo Olympic Games were postponed for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the continent’s strongest basketball players are also gathering a year later.
Source: Diena.lv by www.diena.lv.
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