Cologne (SID) – After an involuntary taxi ride across Cologne, defending champion Slovenia around NBA star Luka Doncic started the European Basketball Championship with a hard-fought victory. In the top game of the German preliminary round group B, the European champions beat Lithuania 92:85 (51:48) in front of 14,465 spectators.
When the Slovenians wanted to drive from the team hotel to the Lanxess Arena in the Deutz district in the afternoon, something essential was missing. “Good job EuroBasket. No bus for the European champion to the game. That must be a joke,” tweeted NBA professional Goran Dragic (Chicago Bulls): “After 20 minutes we got at least a taxi.”
The best thrower of the Slovenians, who lost surprisingly clearly against the German team (71:90) in the dress rehearsal in Munich on Sunday as part of the World Cup qualifiers, was American-born Mike Tobey with 24 points. Mindaugas Kuzminskas scored 19 points for the Lithuanians, who were cheered on loudly as usual. In the first game of the group, Bosnia and Herzegovina won against Hungary 95:85 (45:46).
Spain did not show any weakness at the start of the tournament. The three-time European champion outclassed Bulgaria in Group A in Tbilisi/Georgia with 114:87 (57:35).