Luka goes wild, scores 47 to lead Slovenia past France
COLOGNE, Germany (AP) — Luka Doncic was asked Tuesday about whether he or Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo had the better chance of setting a EuroBasket scoring record.
Doncic quickly picked Antetokounmpo.
A day later, he might have proved himself wrong.
Doncic scored 47 points — the second-most by anyone in the history of the European championships — and led Slovenia past France 88-82 on Wednesday for the top seed out of Group B going into this weekend’s start of the knockout round.
“Luka, obviously, is a fantastic player,” said France center Rudy Gobert, one of the world’s top defenders.
Doncic had 27 of Slovenia’s first 36 points, made 15 of 23 shots from the field, plus had team highs of seven rebounds and five assists.
Eddy Terrace had 63 points for Belgium against Albania in 1957. That’s the only EuroBasket performance in which someone had more points than Doncic did on Wednesday; the previous second-best effort was 46 by Greece’s Nikos Galis against Sweden in 1983.
The most in this year’s EuroBasket, entering Wednesday, was Antetokounmpo scoring 41 on Ukraine.
Goran Dragic broke a tie with a layup with 1:20 left that put Slovenia (4-1) ahead for good. It was a measure of payback for Slovenia, which lost to France in the Olympic semifinals at the Tokyo Games last summer.
“Luka had a great night,” Slovenia coach Aleksander Sekulic said. “He spoils us so much. We think this is normal. This is not normal.”
Dragic had 14 for Slovenia. Gobert had 19 for France (3-2), which got 15 from Evan Fournier, 13 from Amath M’Baye, 11 from Elie Okobo and a 10-point, 10-rebound effort from Thomas Heurtel.
Wednesday started the final round of group play. There are four groups with six teams in each, and the top four clubs in each group — 16 teams in all — move on to Berlin for the knockout phase that starts Saturday.
LITHUANIA 87, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA 70
Lithuania is going to the knockout stage of EuroBasket.
Marius Grigonis scored 16 points, Jonas Valanciunas finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds, and Lithuania topped Bosnia and Herzegovina — a winner-take-all game in terms of which club would move out of Group B and into the round of 16.
Arnas Butkevicius and Ignas Brazdeikis each scored 13 points, and Domantas Sabonis added 12 for Lithuania, which survived a second consecutive must-win game.
Dzanan Musa led all scorers with 22 points for Bosnia and Herzegovina (2-3), while Jusuf Nurkic added 15.
A 30-10 run spanning the second and third quarters was the key for Lithuania (2-3). The game was tied at 32 before the spurt gave Lithuania a 62-42 lead early in the third quarter.
GERMANY 106, HUNGARY 71
Christian Sengfelder scored 22 points, Maodo Lo added 21 and Germany (4-1) tuned up for the trip from Cologne to Berlin with an easy victory over Hungary (0-5).
Niels Giffey scored 19, Andreas Obst scored 16 and Franz Wagner had 15 points in just 12 minutes for Germany.
Zoltan Perl led Hungary with 15 points, while Szilard Benke had 13, Adam Somogyi scored 11 and David Vojvoda finished with 10.
SPAIN 72, TURKEY 69
At Tbilisi, Georgia, Lorenzo Brown’s jumper with 2:11 left put Spain (4-1) ahead to stay in its group-clinching win over Turkey (3-2).
Willy Hernangomez led Spain with 15 points, and Brown finished with 11. Spain will meet Lithuania in the round of 16 this weekend.
Cedi Osman scored 20 for Turkey, while Furkan Korkmaz finished with 16 and Alperen Sengun added 14. Turkey will play in the knockout round as well.
BELGIUM 89, BULGARIA 80
Belgium (3-2) ensured it would reach the group stage, with Retin Obasohan scoring 25 points and Manu Lecomte adding 20.
Maxime De Zeeuw scored 13 for Belgium.
Aleksandar Vezenkov had 26 points and 13 rebounds and Dee Bost scored 18 for Bulgaria (1-4), which was eliminated.
MONTENEGRO 81, GEORGIA 73
Montenegro (3-2) claimed the last qualifying spot out of Group A, topping Georgia (1-4) behind 22 points from Igor Drobnjak and 17 from Kendrick Perry.
Bojan Dubljevic added 10 for Montenegro.
For Georgia, Thaddus McFadden scored 16, Alexander Mamukelashvili had 15, while Duda Sanadze and Giorgi Shermadini scored 14 apiece.
First-round play ends in Groups C and D, as the 60-game group stage comes to an end.
Group C: Croatia (2-2) vs. Ukraine (3-1), Estonia (1-3) vs. Greece (4-0), Britain (0-4) vs. Italy (2-2). Croatia, Ukraine, Greece and Italy are all advancing to Berlin and the knockout stage. Greece could be one of two teams — Serbia is the other — to have a chance to get through group play unbeaten.
Group D: Israel (2-2) vs. Czech Republic (1-3), Serbia (4-0) vs. Poland (3-1), Finland (2-2) vs. Netherlands (0-4). The Israel-Czech Republic winner goes to Berlin, the Serbia-Poland winner will win the group (both already have clinched knockout round spots) and Finland is also locked into the knockout round.
There are no games Friday.
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