Kestutis Kemzura’s players showed character and edged Spain 76-73 (11-22, 24-21, 18-21, 23-9) in a thriller on Tuesday to move to a 3-0 record in the tournament.
- You can check out the moments from the game in our photo gallery.
The beginning of the third quarter didn’t look all that promising for Lithuania as Rudy Fernandez hammered in one dunk after another and Marc Gasol dominated the paint. It was two points from Gasol that made it an 18-point game at 43:61.
That was the point where Lithuania just decided to go all-in and try to shrink the gap. The Lithuanians showed a lot of effort on defense and mounted a 14-0 run to get within a single point (63-64). Martynas Pocius took team Lithuania a step further leveling the game at 66-66.
As the clock began to tick down the last minute Lithuanians scored two more points and went in to the lead 73-71. Pocius made one of two from the free-throw line and was bettered by Juan Carlos Navarro, who made both. However, Linas Kleiza made both of his frees to seal the game for Lithuania.
The Spaniards had a chance to tie the game, but Ricky Rubio lost the ball sending the Lithuanian-dominated crowed into cheers.Lithuania: Linas Kleiza 17 (8 rebounds), Martynas Pocius 13, Jonas Mačiulis 13, Mantas Kalnietis 12, Simas Jasaitis 5.
Spain: Juas Carlos Navarro 18, Marc Gasol 18 (8 rebounds), Rudy Fernandez 13 (9 rebounds), Jorge Garbajosa 11.
Kestutis Kemzura (head coach of Lithuania): “It’s hard to say something, it was a great game for us. I’m very proud of my men because we fought. Despite trailing by 18 points, we didn’t give up. All five guys on the court fought for each other. Spain is one of my favourite teams. Of course, after Lithuiania. They play great basketball and have a good coach.”