SAPPORO (FIBA World Championship
) - Slovenia marked their FIBA World Championship debut with an emphatic victory over Senegal in their Group D encounter in Sapporo on Saturday.
Ales Pipan's team built a big lead early on and never looked back as they thrashed the African nation 96-79.
Senegal were overmatched and struggled defensively, giving their opponents easy shots and Slovenia made them pay, making 33 of 67 from the field, 12 of 22 from the arc.
"We were very sloppy on defense today," said Senegal's Sitapha Savane, who finished with 11 points while team-mate Richard AW Jules had a game-high 18 points on defeat.
"We gave away too many spaces but we have to congratulate our rivals, they have great shooters."
Slovenia, who qualified for the tournament for the first time in the country's history with their sixth-placed finish at last year's EuroBasket, proved too strong for Moustapha Gaye's men.
Bostjan Nachbar and Sani Becirovic provided much of their team's inspiration in the early offensive play as the Slovenians went on a 14-4 run at the start of the first quarter.
Both players continued to terrorise Senegal's defense to give their team a comfortable 32-15 lead going into the second quarter.
Beno Udrih's three pointer early in the second period gave his team a 37-17 lead as Slovenia maintained their domination.
Senegal managed to reduce that deficit to 46-37 a Malick Badiane lay-up but big man Rasho Nesterovic made sure with an easy two-pointer that his team went into the break with a 48-37 advantage.
With Slovenia facing a more difficult battle on Sunday when they take on Olympic silver medalists Italy, Pipan opted to rest his starting five in the second half but Senegal failed to take advantaged as they went into the final quarter trailing 79-56.
Nachbar finished with 17 points while Sani Becirovic had 16 points, all of them scored in the first half.
"We were able to get the lead early in the game and this gave us a lot of confidence," said Nachbar.
"We shot good, they let us wide open a couple of times, had we missed those shots the game would have been completely different but we made them." Cindy Garcia-Bennett