• Wild card Lithuania stun Argentina to set a date with USA
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Sep 10, 2010-

Lithuania stunned Argentina 104-85 on thursday to close the Quarterfinals of the FIBA World Championship at the Sinar Erdem Dome. Now Lithuania plays the USA in the semifinals on Saturday, September 11.

 Lithuania was head to head with Argentina in the first couple of minutes but their sticky man to man defense, focused on Scola and that didn’t allow any passes inside nor any comfortable shots, gave them all the confidence to start their run.

The Lithuanians took off with an 8-0 run to be up 17-10 after a basket by Robertas Javkotas with 4:06 left. Then Argentina came back with a 5-0 run that finished with an amazing steal, behind the back dribble and dunk with a foul by Hernan Jasen with 1:48 to close the game 21-17.

That play by Jasen was supposed to be the spark that the Argentineans needed, but the Lithuanians never lost their composure and continued to hit from behind the arc after a three pointer by Tomas Delininkaitis and then a two point field goal by him finished the first quarter up 28-18.

In the second quarter it was when it all fell apart for Argentina as Lithuania kept their balanced attack, perfect shooting from long distance as they connected their first eight three pointers with success and a suffocating defense.

Argentina tried to find Scola, who only had two points in the first quarter, and responded with some made shots. The Argentineans never made a three pointer in the first half and they went down 50-30 after a tip-in at the buzzer by Delininkaitis.

At halftime Lithuania had Mantas Kalnietis, Tomas Delininkaitis and Simas Jasaitis with 9 points each.

In the third quarter the Lithuanians ended up 85-53 after a three pointer by Delininkaitis with two seconds left. Six of the Lithuanians had already scored in double digits.

Despite being down by such a large margin, Argentina never gave up, tried every trick on the book but they just couldn’t find the rhythm to make this a contest. Lithuania had seven players who scored, all of them in double figures led by Simas Jasaitis with 19 points.

This loss broke the Argentineans run to the semifinals in this tournament after reaching it in 2002 and 2006. This is also the last time that the “Golden Generation” will play in the FIBA World Championship.

Lithuania, who was one of the four wildcards for this tournament, made it to their first semifinals in FIBA World Championship history.

The USA pulled away in the second half to see off Russia 89-79 and book their place in the semi-finals.

Up 44-39 at the break, the Americans came out strong in the third quarter to take their first double-digit lead of the night, 58-47, on Russell Westbrook’s breakaway dunk. They then kept their foot on the pedal and the Russians were unable to keep up with them the rest of the way.

Kevin Durant had 33 points for Mike Krzyzewski’s team, who will next face the winners of the last quarter-final, that pits Argentina against Lithuania.

The teams traded three-point shots – combining to go seven of 14 from long range – and Russia got some valuable offense off the bench from Timofey Mozgov, who worked the pick-and-roll to perfection with Dimtriy Khvostov.

The game was played exactly 38 years since the 1972 Olympic Games final, which was the first loss by a USA team in the Olympics. 

There was little to separate the two teams in the opening quarter. The lead changed five times and there were six ties, including at the end of the period, when it was knotted at 25.


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