Dragic Leads Slovenia in Scoring in Back-to-Back Games

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by Matt Petersen

After several months of well-earned rest, Goran Dragic is back to doing what he does best.

The Suns guard led Slovenia in back-to-back friendlies over the weekend as he and his countrymen prepare for the 2014 FIBA World Cup, which commences at the end of August.

On Saturday, Dragic led the team in points (18) and assists (8) as Slovenia overcame an 11-point, second-quarter deficit to beat New Zealand 80-74. His brother Zoran added 12 points, two assists, two rebounds and a game-high four steals.

After the sizable early deficit, the Slovenes started the second half with a vengeance, outscoring New Zealand 53-37 after half-time. They scored 22 points off of 24 turnovers, which helped overcome a 42-28 rebounding disparity.

That was the exact same disparity on the boards that marked the following night’s game against Greece, but Slovenia was unable to make up for it with defensive pressure on consecutive nights. Dragic again led the team in scoring (14) and assists (5), but Slovenia’s work on the boards and accuracy from the floor (55.8 FG%) proved too much to overcome.

Over the two games combined, Dragic logged 13 assists to just three turnovers in 53 minutes of playing time.

The FIBA World Cup begins on August 30 in Spain, where Slovenia will open in Group D with Angola, Australia, Korea, Lithuania and Mexico. After group round robin play, the top four teams from each group advance to the elimination rounds.

Slovenia qualified for the World Cup after finishing fifth in EuroBasket 2013.

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