Slovenia lose to Australia to finish 4th at Olympic basketball tournament
Tokyo – The Slovenian men’s basketball team lost to Australia 93:107 at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday to settle for the fourth place in what is the nation’s first Olympic appearance, as Australia proved too strong throughout the bronze medal match.
Slovenia had no answer to Australia’s Patty Mills, who poured in 42 points to bring his nation the first basketball Olympic medal ever after the team had been close to a medal so many times in the past.
For Slovenia, it is nevertheless an excellent result, as the nation secured 4th place in what it was an Olympic debut for its national team. The country remains without a medal in team sports at the Summer Olympics.
Slovenia were a match for the Australians only in the first quarter, and then had to trail almost all the time as the opponents never let the Slovenians come close and make the game tighter.
Slovenia’s star Luka Dončić finished the match with 22 points, but he shot poorly from the field (7:20), while collecting eight rebounds and seven assists. Klemen Prepelič followed with 18 points and Mike Tobey chipped in 13 points.
Slovenia’s head coach Aleksander Sekulić congratulated Australia on “playing an incredible match and taking advantage of their experience”, and also praised Mills for being “unbelievable”.
He also praised Slovenia, noting that “we were the only team in the semi-finals who had to go through qualification”, adding that Slovenian players were leaving Tokyo with their heads held high.
Slovenia’s sharpshooter Klemen Prepelič said that the good thing was that the Slovenian team had a bright future, “as we have a young team and good potential. This is definitely not the last word Slovenia uttered on the court.”
Dončić praised Australia for playing exceptional basketball. “They deserved the bronze because they played better than us. I’m nevertheless proud of this team and I can say that we have done everything in our power to return home with a medal.”
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