STA, 26 July 2021 - Slovenian superstar Luka Dončić scored 48 points as the Slovenian basketball team cruised past Argentina to open their campaign at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday with a convincing 118:100 win.
The first Olympics win for Slovenia came against the runners-up from the last World Cup, with the winner being already decided in the first half, in which Dončić scored 31 points for Slovenia to take a 20-point lead.
The lead ballooned to 30 by the end of the third quarter and the rest was only a formality, and the only question was with how many points the Dallas Mavericks star will end the match. He finished it with a whopping 48 points.
Dončić was resting in the last four minutes and Klemen Prepelič took over, scoring a couple of threes to finish with 22 points. The naturalised American Mike Tobey notably had a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Slovenia's head coach Aleksander Sekulić said that the match had been understandably emotional as it was the first ever for Slovenia at the Olympics.
"We played our game, and we were especially efficient on offence ... and we had the exceptional Luka Dončić. We lost focus for a few minutes at the end, but it was nevertheless a very good game and we can be satisfied."
Dončić added that Argentina was a very good team and that it was difficult for him as the opponent played very good defence. "The first Olympic game is behind us, it is a large win and the feelings are very special."
Dončić was also praised by Argentina head coach Sergio Hernandez. "We tried to stop him from getting the ball and cut him off the team, because we knew he would get his points. He was able to respond to every defence we threw at him."
Slovenia is on pace to qualify for the elimination round but will probably need at least one more win out of Thursday's encounter with the hosts Japan and Sunday's match-up with Spain in Group B.