By Johnny Askounis/ [email protected]
With both national teams earning a win over the Netherlands Thursday and Friday, Slovenia bested Montenegro, 70-52, Celje Saturday evening.
Head coach Aleksander Sekulic splitting playing time among available players resulted in a balanced scoring effort. Krka big man Jurij Macura and JDA Dijon’s Gregor Hrovat shared a team-high nine points. Gregor Glas of Partizan NIS followed with eight points.
Down 23-6 at the end of the first period, the visitors actually climbed into the lead before falling into a double-digit deficit once more in the final minutes of the prep game. Nemanja Radovic of UCAM Murcia and Jonah Radebaugh of Valencia scored 16 and 14 points, respectively.
Both Luka Doncic and Goran Dragic were sidelined but presumably will be available as Slovenia returns to action facing Ukraine in Istanbul next Saturday. Montenegro will visit Serbia on the same day.
More national teams preparing for the 2022 EuroBasket and 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers were in action Saturday as Finland rolled Belgium, 80-71, and Hungary beat Georgia, 78-75, in friendly rematches.
After dropping Thursday’s prep game, 75-71, the team coached by Lassi Tuovi opened a double-digit lead in the third quarter and assisted by crowd support held on in Tampere. Tennessee’s Olivier Nkamhoua paved the way with 19 points. Baxi Manresa’s Elias Valtonen tallied 15 points, eight rebounds, three steals, and two assists. Captain Shawn Huff scored seven of his nine points in the first quarter.
Standing out for the losing side was Filou Oostende’s Pierre-Antoine Gillet with 18 points, six rebounds, and two steals to his name. His teammate in the lasting Basketball Champions League original, Haris Bratanovic added 16 points. After splitting games with Finland, the Lions are scheduled to host Germany in the next friendly game on Wednesday.
Playing 45 minutes behind closed doors in Kecskemet, Hungary doubled wins against Georgia following up on Friday’s victory, 89-88. After playing at the international level for the first time since September 2016 yesterday, Adam Hanga sat out the bottom half of the series. Up next is another prep game at home versus Slovakia Friday, while Georgia, headed by Ilias Zouros, will return the training camp to Tbilisi.
Photo Credit: FIBA.BASKETBALL
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