LJUBLJANA (EuroBasket/FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Slovenia made sure another night at EuroBasket 2013 finished in thrilling fashion by holding off Greece to win and seal a place in the Quarter-Finals.
Led by Goran Dragic's 28 points, the Slovenians prevailed 73-65 to improve to 3-1 in Group E.
Croatia also sealed their place in the last eight with a 76-68 triumph over Italy in the day's first game while Spain enhanced their chances of advancing with an 82-56 win over Finland.
Slovenia arrived in Ljubljana as the third-place team from Group C but have now reeled off two straight victories.
On Saturday, with Dragic exploding for 11 first-quarter points, the tournament hosts claimed a 26-13 lead and the advantage grew to 43-27 by half-time.
Slovenia went in front by 26 in the third quarter, only for Greece to storm back behind Vassilis Spanoulis.
The veteran guard had nine of his team-high 21 points in the fourth quarter and Greece pulled to within 68-62 when Kostas Kaimakoglou intercepted a pass and fed Antonis Fotsis for a lay-up.
After a Jaka Lakovic miss, Greece brought the ball up the floor and Kaimakoglou launched an attempt from the arc but missed.
Greece had one more attempt to cut into the deficit on their next trip down the floor but Spanoulis turned the ball over with a bad pass that was picked off by Mirza Begic.
The Greeks will now have to win their game against Croatia and hope Italy beat Spain if they are to advance to the Quarter-Finals.
Should the Greeks not progress, they will not qualify for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Six places are up for grabs to next year's event in Spain.
Croatia arrived in Slovenia with plenty of concerns, like what the loss of Marko Tomas would do to the team's chances of getting out of the First Round.
Tomas got hurt late in the preparations to rob Jasmin Repesa of one of his most experienced players.
Croatia didn't play particularly well in the build-up to the EuroBasket, either, and even lost their first game in the competition to Spain by 28 points.
They haven't fallen since.
On Saturday the Croatians prevailed for the sixth consecutive game, beating Italy.
Repesa's squad improved to 3-1 in Group F to become the first team to reach the knockout round.
Bojan Bogdanovic had 18 points while Krunoslav Simon poured in eight of his 14 points in the third quarter, when Croatia turned a 36-31 half-time deficit into a 49-43 lead.
"We're very happy to qualify for the next round but I hope we'll continue playing like this - but better in the first half - and we will see," Repesa said.
Italy, after winning all five of their games in Group D in Koper, are now 0-2 in Koper.
They were assured of a spot in the Quarter-Final, however, after Greece's defeat to Slovenia.
Spain bounced back from their 79-75 setback to Greece and won against Finland.
Jose Calderon erupted for 23 points, including 13 in the first half as the two-time defending champions opened up a 42-30 advantage.
Spain shot 10 of 21 from long range, with Calderon a blistering five of seven.
The Finns, Group D's second-place team, battled but weren't able to put the Juan Antonio Orenga's team under pressure in the second half.
"Finland is a team that beat Russia, Turkey, Greece, so we had to have very high intensity on defense," Orenga said.
For full and in-depth coverage of EuroBasket 2013, go to the official website http://www.eurobasket2013.org.