VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP)—Slovenia dominated the boards and stopped Finland’s perimeter shooting to win 67-60 on Monday and clinch the last quarterfinal spot at the European basketball championship.The victory assured Slovenia of finishing fourth in Group F, and it will play defending champion Spain in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Finland trailed for most of the game but made it a four-point contest with 32 seconds remaining. It then wasted two possessions before point guard Goran Dragic of the Houston Rockets sank two free throws to put the game away.
“It was a big game and we are very disappointed,” said Finland forward Tuukka Kotti. “We had terrible rebounding and a lot of missed lay-ups. We just couldn’t get any offensive rebounds.”
Slovenia grabbed 17 and had 42 rebounds overall to 33 for Finland. Slovenia’s big men combined for 32 points in the paint.
“We are just too small under the basket,” Finland coach Henrik Dettmann said.
Center Erazem Lorbek led Slovenia with 14 points and Uros Slokar added 13 and eight rebounds.
“We took away their main weapon, the 3-point shot, and we took the rebounds,” Slovenia coach Bozidar Maljkovic said. “We didn’t let them play their game.”
Finland’s success usually hinges on its 3-point shooting. In its previous win over Georgia, Finland took 26 shots from beyond the arc and made 13 of them.
It missed all five in the first half against Slovenia and finished 5-of-13 from the perimeter.
Petteri Koponen had 14 points for Finland, which was seeking to reach the quarterfinals for the first time.