It’s not unlikely that Luka Doncic or anyone else on the Slovenian national team has forgotten that Australia beat them for the bronze medal in the last Olympics. Once again faced with the Boomers, this time in the second group stage of the FIBA World Cup, Doncic and his teammates were ready to exact a small measure of revenge.

Slovenia started strong, finding themselves with a 14-point lead by the early part of the second quarter, but the stubborn Australians would not go away at first. They roared back to single digits, led by Patty Mills’ 14 points, three rebounds and three assists in the first half. It’s worth noting, though, that Australia shot 17 free throws compared to Slovenia’s five in the first half, which caused a great deal of frustration for Doncic and his crew, a number of whom received technical fouls.

Palpably annoyed, the Slovenians became even more frustrated when Australia roared back in the third quarter, cutting the lead down to 66-62 thanks to a 13-point effort in the period from Josh Giddey, who went on to finish the game with 25 points, eight rebounds and four assists. That had Slovenian fans and players nervous, especially since Australia did a decent job of hounding Doncic, forcing him to trust his teammates to get the victory.

Doncic, who finished the first half with just six points, watched Mike Tobey contribute 18 points,12 rebounds and five assists while shooting 8 of 10 from the field. Tobey grabbed nine of his rebounds in the second half, and they were hugely important.

Klemen Prepelic and Gregor Horvat also contributed 10 points apiece, and their efforts then allowed Doncic to get going in the second half. Doncic finished the game with 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Mills, on the other hand, cooled off in the second half, adding only four more points. Dante Exum had 13 of his own for the game, but the next closest scorer was Josh Green with eight points. When the free throw advantage went away in the second half, so did Australia’s chances of completing the big comeback. A furious fourth 21-5 run in the fourth quarter gave Slovenia an 88-69 advantage with just a few minutes to go, and the Boomers were never able to recover.

This was Slovenia’s first true test against top competition, as they had a pretty easy group stage. They passed it with flying colors, and another hard fight for positioning awaits them. They’ll take Dennis Schroder and Germany on next, and the game will be at 7:10 PM (+8 UTC) on Sunday, September 3. 

As great as he is, Doncic knows that he won’t be able to win a medal alone. So far, though, his teammates are showing that they’re game to support him in the endeavor.