The surprising story of the game was the rising star Jonas Valanciunas, who scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to mark his first game ever for the country’s senior side. The big man, who was picked by the Toronto Raptors in the 2011 NBA Draft, already had 16 points at halftime, most of which came in dunks.
“I was more nervous than usually, but thank god I managed to cope with it. There wasn’t a moment that I thought of the statistics, I just went on the court and showed what I can do,” said the definite fan-favourite Valanciunas.
Lithuanians had an 18-point lead in the middle of the third quarter (62-44), but the Czechs mounted a 22-11 run to get back within 66-73. However, Lithuania answered with a 10-2 spurt to cruise to victory.
Marijonas Petravicius provided the biggest assistance to Valanciunas by scoring 12 points, as Donatas Motiejunas and Sarunas Jasikevicius both finished with 11 points. Martynas Pocius had 7 points while Martynas Gecevicius and Tomas Delininkaitis contributed with 6 points each to Lithuania’s win.
“It’s always great to achieve the first victory, even though the opponents weren’t the strongest of teams. We had hardly any information about the Czechs, but managed to keep the turnover numbers down comparing to our first game and we were better under the boards,” said Lithuanian coach Kestutis Kemzura, who cut three players after the game – Donatas Motiejunas, Martynas Gecevicius and Renaldas Seibutis.
Pavel Houska was the stand-out player for Czech Republic with 16 points, while Tomas Pomikalek and Kamil Svrdlik added 12 points each for the visitors.