Pau Gasol and his Spanish teammates built a 13-point lead heading into the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s EuroBasket showdown with Slovenia, but found themselves in overtime after a furious rally and buzzer-beating jumper that mandated an extra period.
Enter Gasol, who first converted a tough and-1 near the rim and second grabbed an offensive board and stuck it back for five-straight OT points that gave Spain some breathing room. Ultimately, the Spaniards were able to hold on for a 90-84 victory that propelled them into Eurobasket’s next round.
A day after posting 27 points and 11 rebounds in a victory over Great Britain, Gasol’s finished with 13 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal against a scrambling Slovenian defense that loaded up down low, though his contributions were certainly timely.
Former NBA player Juan Carlos Navarro led Spain with 21 points, while Portland’s Rudy Fernandez added 19.
Spain had previously lost to Serbia but beaten Great Britain, while Slovenia had beaten both, meaning both teams finished at 2-1 in their group. It’s presumed that Spain’s victory over Slovenia would render them the group winners as both advance to the subsequent round.