Doncic, Dragic advance to EuroBasket quarter-finals with win over Belgium

Goran Dragic, Luka Doncic, Slovenia, EuroBasket 2022 (Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images)
Goran Dragic, Luka Doncic, Slovenia, EuroBasket 2022 (Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images) /

Although Marko Simonovic and Montenegro were knocked out in the first round of EuroBasket 2022, one member of the Chicago Bulls has managed to stay in the race for a title in the acclaimed international tournament. Goran Dragic and Luka Doncic continue their campaign to repeat as EuroBasket champions after defeating Belgium 88-72 in the round of 16.

Dragic contributed 11 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals to the cause, but ultimately it’s Doncic’s superstar ability that won this game for Slovenia. Luka racked up an impressive 35 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists while steering the ship safely right on through to the EuroBasket quarter-finals.

Slovenia did have a near-scare as Belgium surged back and reclaimed the lead early in the fourth with a score of 64-63. However, Slovenia rode the wave and comfortably outscored Belgium 25-12 in the final quarter to take home the big win.

Goran Dragic hands the keys over to Luka Doncic as Slovenia annihilates Belgium 88-72 during the round of 16 in EuroBasket 2022.

Dragic may be the reigning EuroBasket MVP, but it looks like he’s done a fair job grooming the heir to that title in Doncic. After averaging just 16.7 points in his first three games, Doncic has turned it way up and has now posted an average of 39.3 points per game in his last three contests — including a historic 47-point outburst that ranks out as the second-highest scoring performance in EuroBasket history.

Ironically, this comes after Doncic claimed Giannis Antetokounmpo would be the one to lead the EuroBasket in scoring after the Greek phenom posted a 41-point game of his own. When asked who had the best chance to break the EuroBasket scoring record, Doncic’s answer was short and simple.

"“Giannis… Why? Because he’s Giannis Antetokounmpo.”"

Next up, Slovenia will take on Poland, after they handled business 94-86 against Ukraine. Poland lacks any past or present NBA talent meaning Slovenia should be the favorites entering their matchup on Wednesday.

If they win there, Slovenia will likely face the winner of a dangerous France team led by Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier, or Serbia* with two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic leading the charge. France and Serbia figure to be two of the tournament’s top teams, so it seems Slovenia lucked out with a favorable position in the bracket. As long as they meet expectations and take care of Poland, the semi-final matchup should be an Olympic-level duel.

The fun’s just getting started, make sure to check back in here for the latest EuroBasket 2022 news as Dragic looks to add another title to his resume.

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*This article was posted before Jokic and Serbia were eliminated in a surprising 94-86 upset by Italy. The Italian team will advance to play France in the quarter-finals instead.