Mike Tobey is heading to the Olympics.
The former Virginia men’s basketball standout finished with 13 points, four rebounds and one assist to help the Slovenia men’s basketball team defeat Lithuania 96-85 on Sunday in Kaunas, Lithuania, to clinch a spot in the upcoming Tokyo Games.
Tobey, who grew up in Monroe, N.Y. and played for Team USA during its run to the gold medal at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic, recently obtained a Slovenian passport, making him eligible to play for the country’s national team.
Tobey was stellar during Slovenia’s four Olympic qualifying tournament games, averaging 15.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. The former Cavalier’s best performance in the tournament came in the semifinals against Venezuela, where he scored 27 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in Slovenia’s 98-70 win.
Tobey also showed off his improved long-range shooting in the tournament, hitting a combined six 3-pointers in the semifinals and finals. He shot 63.6% (7-for-11) from beyond the arc in the tournament.
Among Tobey’s teammates on the Slovenian national team is Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic, who finished with 31 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists on Sunday, the first triple-double by any player in any of the four Olympic qualifying tournaments that were played in the past week to determine the last four teams in the Olympic field.
“I don’t care about the MVP,” Doncic said. “We won here. We’re going to the Olympics, the first time in our country. It’s amazing. I think every kid dreams about being in the Olympics. I did, too. So, here we are. We fought really, really hard and I think we deserve to be here.”
The game was tied 52-52 at halftime, and Slovenia opened the third on an 11-2 run. Lithuania eventually closed within 71-69, but a 14-0 run by Slovenia put it in control for good.
And when the last few seconds ticked away, Doncic threw his arms skyward in celebration.
“We’re making history for our country,” Doncic said. “We can just go up from here.”
Lithuania was one of four nations playing host to Olympic qualifiers that ended Sunday, all four being winner-take-all events, one team from each region making the Tokyo field.
And all four home teams, which figured to have major advantages by being at home, fell short of the Olympics. Slovenia beat Lithuania in the final, Croatia and Canada lost semifinal games — and Serbia, the reigning Olympic silver medalists, were stunned in a regional final Sunday by Italy.
“A huge disappointment,” Lithuania coach Darius Maskoliunas said. “We lost at home. We expected a better result.”
Slovenia will be placed in Group C for the Tokyo Games, one of the three four-team groups at the Olympics. Slovenia will play Argentina on July 26, Japan on July 29 and reigning World Cup champion Spain on Aug. 1. The top two teams in each group, plus two wild cards, will make the Olympic quarterfinals.
“It’s just one of the best feelings,” Doncic said. “We worked hard for this.”
Vlatko Cancar scored 18 for Slovenia, which got 16 from Jaka Blazic and 13 from Tobey.
Jonas Valanciunas, Arnas Butkevicius and Mantas Kalnietis each scored 14 for Lithuania, which will miss the Olympics for the first time since getting its independence from the Soviet Union; it had been to each of the past seven Olympics, starting in 1992.
Eimantas Bendzius scored 11 and Marius Grigonis added 10 for Lithuania.