European basketball powerhouse Lithuania further increased their rating with a 110-104 win over the USA at the ongoing FIBA World Cup, with both sides through to the quarterfinals of the tournament. The Europeans, however, handed the USA their first group stage defeat since 2002.
Lithuania were led by NBA star Jonas Valanciunas but were without Domantas Sabonis as they faced the USA, and they pulled out a very fast start to the game, stunning their illustrious opponents. The European side outscored the USA 31-12 by the end of the first quarter and held a 21-point lead at a point in the first half. They ended the first half with a 54-37 lead over the Olympic champions.
The second half saw the USA prove their mettle as they cut into the Europeans’ lead, ending the third quarter trailing by just six points as Lithuania led 71-65. Neither side outscored the other in the fourth quarter, ensuring that the game ended 110-104 in favour of Lithuania, who avoided the fate of Montenegro at the hands of the USA.
Valanciunas, Tadas Sedekerskis, Ignas Brazdeikis, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Eimantas Bendzius, Vaidas Kariniauskas and Tomas Dimsa all scored double-figure points for Lithuania, with Kariniauskas scoring the highest with 15 points.
Anthony Edwards scored 35 points for the USA, with Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson contributing 14 points apiece for Steve Kerr’s team.
Lithuania will face Serbia in the quarterfinals, while the USA will face Italy. Germany will face Latvia, and Canada will face Slovenia for a place in the semifinals.