Spain will face Macedonia on Friday for a place in the final of EuroBasket 2011 after the Balkan newcomers ousted hosts Lithuania in a dramatic quarter-final.

Over 15000 people within the newly-opened Zalgiris Arena held their breaths but saw the home favourites crash out as Vlado Ilievski buried a three-pointer with 11 seconds which proved decisive in a 67-65 victory.

Bo McCalebb had a game-high 23 points.


Spain 86 Slovenia 64

Spain overcame some early uncertainty to surge past Slovenia 86-64 and booked an expected spot in the semi-finals of EuroBasket in Kaunas.

The unfancied Slovenes dared to lead 23-16 after the opening quarter but the defending champions delivered a ruthless response, producing a long range bombardment led by Juan Carlos Navarro who had a game-high 26 points.

Holding their rivals to just eight points in the second quarter, the tournament favourites built emphatically on their 35-31 half-time cushion, making 7/10 from three-point range in the third period as their zone defence held the Slovenes at bay.

And with Pau Gasol adding 19 points plus 16 rebounds, even a 7-0 run in the fourth from the underdogs barely dented Spain who will face either Macedonia in the next round.

“We’re very happy to be in the semi-finals,” said Navarro. “We had a very bad first half, but we played much better in the second half and that’s how we won the game. We have one day to rest now and that’s a good thing, because we want and need to be as ready as possible for the very important semi-finals.”

Goran Dragic had 14 for Slovenia who now go into the play-offs against Lithuania for fifth and sixth.

“It was a very tough game for us,” he said. “We played well in the first half and were in a good position, but after the half time break we made too many turnovers. After that it was tough to match-up with Spain.”

Live stats. Quarter-final preview.

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