Header Ads Widget

FIBA World Cup: Lithuania shocks USA, secure Group J top spot

Ignas Brazdeikis slams the ball against Paolo Banchero. FIBA
By Mon Anthony L. Valmoria

PASAY CITY--World no.8 Lithuania survived a barrage from Anthony Edwards as they shocked Team USA, 110-104, and secured Group J's top spot in the FIBA World Cup on Sunday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena here.

In a stunning series of events, Lithuania came out firing from all cylinders, shooting 9-of-9 from the three-point area to lead by 19 at the end of the first quarter, 31-12. 

The 'Green Death' continued on in the second quarter by exploiting the USA's size while shooting brilliantly to lead 54-37 at the break. 

It didn't help for the Americans either having their top big man Jarena Jackson Jr. called for two quick fouls in three minutes which forced him out of the game. Jonas Valanciunas and co. feasted on a lot of easy baskets inside without the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year in the paint.

In the second half, Team USA tried to make it a game after a spirited effort by Edwards, who finished with a game-high 35 points. 

However, the lead was too much to overcome for the Americans, falling short in the end. Edwards and Team USA outscored Lithuania 28-17 in the third quarter. 

Finally, the Lithuanians hit some timely shots in the fourth quarter to thwart the comeback, keeping the USA at bay until the end.

Vaidas Kariniauskas led a total team effort for Lithuania with 15 points, which also saw six other teammates scoring double-digits for the game.

The game did not really matter as far as quarterfinals go with both teams already qualified, but it did have implications on the seedings and what side of the bracket both teams would play.

Lithuania will now face Group I's second seed Serbia for their quarterfinal matchup while the USA draws Italy, Group I's first seed, as their opponent.

The Final Phase of the FIBA World Cup commences on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Follow him on X: @_Morval

Post a Comment