Slovenia ended their group play with a 65-60 win over Iran, in a lifeless game in Istanbul.
Slovenia finish in second place in Group B, whilst Iran go home, finishing second from bottom.
“They (Iran) played a very good game, very tough and aggressive game.” Slovenian coach, Mehmed Becirovic said after the game.
“We struggled a little bit when I started to put players from the bench, but our starting five done good. Becirovic commented also.
With both Slovenia and Iran’s places sealed, the game had no impact on the standings. Slovenia though pressed Iran, forcing turnovers on the inbound pass, racing to a quick 7-0 start. Moosa Nabipoor getting already eliminated Iran off the mark, with a lay-up in traffic.
Slovenia continued to press, without having to move out of first gear. Miha Zupan with a breakaway dunk and a steal and lay-up from Jaka Lakovic giving Slovenia a 19-6 lead at the end of one.
Back-to-back buckets from Javad Davari cut the deficit to single digits (10-19), but Slovenia restored their double-digit lead with a Vidmar dunk off a Sani Becirovic alley-oop. (21-10).
Iran though clawed their way back into the contest, thanks to the duo of the ever-consistent Hadadi and Asghar Kardoust. Iran tied the game at 23 thanks to a breakaway lay-up Kamrany.
Slovenia ended a five minute scoring drought thanks to goaltender lay-up from Dragic – and the same player connected from downtown, to give Slovenia a 28-23 lead at half-time.
The game was ended as a contest in the third. As Slovenia went on an 11-0 tear to take a 43-26 lead halfway through the third.
Buckets were traded in a lifeless third period. Hadadi with six points in between a Zupan bucket gave Slovenia a 45-30 cushion.
Slovenia went into the final stanza – comfortably in control at 52-34.Dragic on 18 points.
The fourth was an anti-climax – as Slovenia and Iran traded buckets for the majority of the fourth. Bostjan Nachbar with a triple from the corner, half-way through the period, giving Slovenia a 63-46 lead.
Iran kept in touch – Saeid Davarpanahfard highlighting an 8-0 run to close the gap to nine (54-63) with two minutes remaining.
Slovenia held on though, and march on along the Istanbul freeway for the next round of action, where they face-off with Australia.
“Looking forward to our game against Australia – but we want to win, and win it all.” Bechirovic concluded.
John Hobbs for TalkBasket.net – in Istanbul.