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Basketball: Slovenia into last-eight as Spain, Greeks in danger

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

Hosts Slovenia joined Croatia and Italy in the European basketball championship quarter-finals on Saturday which left two-time reigning champions Spain and Greece in danger.

Slovenia moved into the last eight with a 73-65 victory over Greece with Goran Dragic leading the way with 28 points while Zoran Dragic added 11 points.

Slovenia improved to 3-1 in the group along with Croatia, who beat the hosts in first round action and would take the top spot with a win on Monday over Greece.

After knocking off Spain, the Greeks dropped to 1-3 despite Vassilis Spanoulis pacing the team with 21 points.

Croatia were the first team from the group to book a spot in the final eight by beating Italy 76-68 to improve to 3-1.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 18 points for Croatia while Krunoslav Simon added 14 points and six rebounds and Roko Ukic chipped in 13 points.

"Honestly, we were a little scared before the game because this game was very, very important for us. We needed it to qualify for the next round," said Croatia coach Jasmin Repesa.

Italy also moved on thanks to the later results with a 2-2 record.

Luigi Datome poured in 24 points and Pietro Aradori added 12 for the Italians, who were the only undefeated team in the first round but have since lost two games.

"I don't think we need to lose any confidence in ourselves. We still are overachieving our EuroBasket ambitions," said Datome.

The 2009 and 2011 champions, and 2012 Olympic silver medallists, Spain jumped to 2-2 after breezing past Finland 82-56 to set themselves up for a battle with Italy on Monday to try to advance to the quarters.

Jose Calderon led the way for Spain with 23 points and five assists while Victor Claver added 12 points and seven rebounds

"For sure we prefer to be in another situation but I think Spain is ready to play against Italy. For us, it's a final," said Rudy Fernandez.

Finland, who dropped to 1-3, got 17 points, five rebounds and four assists from Petteri Koponen.

The Finns are still alive for a spot in the knockout round.

EuroBasket continues on Sunday with the final game day of Group E with Lithuania, France and Serbia already into the quarter-finals as 3-1 teams.

Latvia (1-3) start off the day against Belgium (0-4) needing a win to stay in the running for a quarter-final spot.

Ukraine (2-2) would advance to the knockout stage with a victory over Lithuania or a Latvia loss.

France take on Serbia in the final game of the group.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130914/basketball-slovenia-last-eight-spain-greeks-danger