LJUBLJANA (EuroBasket/FIBA Basketball World Cup) - A whirlwind day at EuroBasket 2013 saw hosts Slovenia hand Italy their first defeat, while Croatia routed Finland and Greece prevailed in a thriller against Spain.
Slovenia, having arrived in Ljubljana after losses to Croatia and Poland in Group C, won the last Group F game on Thursday night, 84-77.
The brave Azzurri, who went into the game after five victories in Group D, stayed within striking distance thanks to 10-of-21 shooting from the arc and a dazzling 20-point display from Alessandro Gentile.
The Dragic brothers and a dominating effort on the glass proved to be their undoing.
Goran Dragic had 22 points and six assists for Slovenia while Zoran Dragic contributed 15 points with 11 of the team's 45 rebounds.
Italy, who had 28 boards as a team, gave away 17 second-chance points while Slovenia also attacked the basket from start to finish and ended up with 46 points in the paint.
The expected challenge from Finland in the first game of the day never materialized as the Croatians won their clash, 88-63.
Damjan Rudez, one of the heroes for Croatia in their overtime win against Slovenia in Group C, buried five of eight shots from the arc and also drove in for a dunk for his game-high 17 points for Croatia.
Jasmin Repesa's team dominated the boards, winning that battle 47-30.
They never allowed the Finns to got on track offensively and went in front by as many as 33 points.
"We prepared for the game very well," Rudez said. "Tactically we did everything we planned. I think we can be very happy with this victory and now we can focus on the next game against Italy."
Greece beat Spain for the first time since the EuroBasket 2003 qualifying campaign.
Having lost twice in Group D to Italy and Finland and with no wins in the bag in Group F, victory was a must for Andrea Trinchieri's team and they won 79-75.
"It was a good win," Trinchieri said, "but we are still in hell and we have to keep walking.
"We had to play against an excellent team."
Vassillis Spanoulis finished with 20 points while Michael Bramos was a key contributor with eight, a couple of blocks and terrific defense.
While Marc Gasol and Rudy Fernandez each poured in 20 points for Spain, the team had the encouraging effort of Victor Claver who scored nine and also a game-high 11 rebounds.
For full and in-depth coverage of EuroBasket 2013, go to the official website http://www.eurobasket2013.org.