Klemen Prepelic is already winning a spot in the hearts of Joventut Badalona fans.
Their new guard struggled for 25 minutes, but came up big when it counted to help Joventut claim its first 7DAYS EuroCup victory in nearly a decade on Tuesday, 81-68 over visiting Germani Brescia Leonessa.
Prepelic paced Joventut with 24 points while also picking up 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 block and 12 fouls drawn – the most in the EuroCup in almost two years – for a performance index rating of 25.
Despite those struggles with his favorite shot – he missed his first 8 three-point attempts and finished 2-for-11 – Prepelic provided the major offensive spark for Joventut's victory.
The 26-year-old is on loan to Joventut from Real Madrid, but his big-game experience – which includes helping Slovenia win the FIBA EuroBasket 2017 title – shined through against Brescia, especially in the second half.
Brescia had just tied the game at 41-41 when Prepelic converted a three-point play and hit a two-point shot to get his and Joventut's offense re-booted. He soon converted another and-one opportunity for 8 points in a 17-2 run that suddenly saw Joventut open a 58-43 advantage.
Brescia tallied the final 10 points of the third quarter but Prepelic got his team back on track with the first score of the final frame and also nailed a tough three-pointer to restore a double-digit lead at 66-55. After that cushion fell back to 5 points, Prepelic stepped up again with his second three-pointer, then following that up with assists on two straight scores by fellow Slovenia Alen Omic. The score was then 75-63, and Brescia had run out of time.
To top off his splendid last 15 minutes, Prepelic even came up with a late blocked shot, the first of his five-season, 55-game EuroCup career!
Prepelic may be in the Barcelona suburbs on loan, but that won't prevent Joventut fans from having fun as they watch him lead their team.