STA, 1 July 2022 - Slovenia defeated Croatia 97:69 (33:8, 54:35, 76:51) in the fifth round of qualifying for the Basketball World Cup on Thursday, cheered on by a capacity crowd at the Stožice Arena that bid farewell to legend Goran Dragić.
The home team set the pace in the first quarter, which it won with a 25-point gap after a 20:0 run driven by NBA stars Dragić and Luka Dončić.
The closest Croatia came to bouncing back was in the 19th minute, when the score was 49:35, but Slovenia soon opened a 20-plus point gap again.
Dončić was the top scorer with 21 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds, with Dragić adding 19 points and Mike Tobey 18.
It was an emotional evening for Dragić, who thanked all team members for "recreating the magic of 2017," when Slovenia became European champions.
"We had good chemistry. We have to take advantage of that and win in Stockholm, then we'll see how to go on," he said, leaving the door open for joining the team at the EuroBasket 2022 in September.
Dončić said the Stožice Arena crowd had shown once again that Slovenians are "the best fans in the world. They've put on a spectacle and I enjoyed every minute of it."
Slovenia, which have three wins now, will wrap up this stage of qualifying by facing Sweden on Sunday before moving on to the next stage of the World Cup qualifying.