Slovenia 90, Puerto Rico 82
SAPPORO, Japan (Ticker) -- Slovenia's Jaka Lakovic delivered the early blow and the knockout punch. Lakovic scored 24 points as Slovenia jumped out to a big early lead and held on for a 90-82 Group D victory over Puerto Rico in the World Championships. Coming off a loss to the United States, Slovenia (2-2) set an immediate tone as it scored 19 of the game's first 22 points. Lakovic scored 14 points in the first half, which ended with Slovenia holding a 52-33 advantage. Two free throws by Orlando Magic guard Carlos Arroyo cut the deficit to 80-72 before Lakovic buried the last of his four 3-pointers with 1:20 to play, sealing the win. "Offensively, we stuck to the plan and executed well in the first half to build an advantage," Lakovic said. "It was then a matter of concentration. We kept our focus until the end and that was the most important thing." Lakovic had three 3-pointers in the opening run. A 13-0 surge fueled by Charlotte Bobcats center Primoz Brezec extended the lead to 40-22 in the second period. Arroyo scored 21 points and backcourt mate Larry Ayuso added 20 for Puerto Rico (2-2), which next faces Italy (3-1). "We missed a good chance today," Puerto Rico coach Julio Toro said. "The players didn't give the ideal effort against Slovenia and I am surprised. We attempted to get back into the game but we didn't have it in ourselves today. Now we must look to our next game which is a very important and hard game for us." In its final group game, Slovenia plays China (1-3), with the winner advancing to the round of 16.