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Doncic, Slovenia continue roll through Olympic qualifying

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Luka Doncic and Slovenia are two wins from the Tokyo Olympics.

Doncic had 18 points and 10 assists, Klemen Prepelic scored 17 points and Slovenia rolled past Poland 112-77 on Thursday at Kaunas, Lithuania, to clinch a spot in Saturday’s Olympic qualifying tournament semifinals in that region.

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Slovenia (2-0) won its two games in group play by a combined 85 points. It now must win on back-to-back days this weekend to qualify for Tokyo.

“Very happy, very pleased, especially when I sit on the bench and I see the guys playing the way they play — playing together, fighting together,” Slovenia coach Aleksander Sekulic said. “For us coaches, it’s really a joy to see them play this way.”

Despite the loss, Poland (1-1) also qualified for the semifinals on Saturday.

Thursday was the final day of group play in the four qualifying tournaments at Lithuania, Croatia, Serbia and Canada. No games are scheduled for Friday; two semifinal games in each region are set for Saturday, and those winners will play Sunday to determine the final four teams in the 12-team field for the Tokyo Olympics.

Mateusz Ponitka led Poland with 16 points.

“We didn’t play our best game,” Poland coach Mike Taylor said. “But we’re looking ahead to the semifinals. We’ve got two games to chase our dreams to get to Tokyo.”

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SPLIT, CROATIA BRACKET

GERMANY 69, RUSSIA 67

Germany erased an early 10-point deficit to reach the semifinals of the qualifier in Croatia, eliminating Russia in the process.

Johannes Voigtmann scored a team-high 13 points for Germany, including a jumper with 1:43 left to put his team ahead for good. Moritz Wagner scored 12 for Germany (2-0).

Andrey Vorontsevich scored 17 points for Russia (0-2), which led 17-7 early and 53-45 late in the third quarter but sputtered offensively down the stretch.

BELGRADE, SERBIA BRACKET

ITALY 90, PUERTO RICO 83

Italy used a 19-0 run in the second half to take command and eventually beat Puerto Rico in a matchup of teams that already knew they were headed to Saturday’s semifinals.

They were assigned to Group B in Belgrade, along with Senegal — which couldn’t get to the tournament because of issues involving positive coronavirus tests and travel restrictions. So Italy and Puerto Rico were both given forfeit wins over Senegal, meaning they were assured of playing this weekend before the event even started.

Nico Mannion, Achille Polonara and Simone Fontecchio all had 21 points apiece for Italy. Gian Clavell led all scorers with 24 for Puerto Rico, which led by 17 late in the first half.

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