Lithuania Overwhelm Greece

20.07.2012

U20 MEN

Turning point: With seven minutes left in the first half, Lithuania tightened their defence which led to a decisive 19-2 run.

Game Hero: Vytenis Cizauskas did a great job of controlling the pace of the game. He finished on 11 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists in a great all-around performance.

Stats Don't Lie: Lithuania had 25 fast break points against Greece's 5.

13. Vytenis Cizauskas (Lithuania)
Vytenis Cizauskas played a key role for Lithuania
Lithuania became the first team to book a spot in the U20 European Championship semi-finals after dismantling Greece 79-43 in Stozice Arena, Friday.

Playing without the injured Dovydas Redikas the Lithuanians started the game strong and established an early 5-0 lead, but great play by Petros Melissaratos kept Greece close.

The score was tied at 19-19 at the start of the second period, but the Lithuanians went on a 19-4 run to end the first half, with Zygimantas Skucas leading the charge for the Baltic side, having collected 12 points in the first two quarters.

Lithuania pushed the ball at every opportunity, as the Greeks failed to contain Vytenis Cizauskas, who was running the game well for the winners.

"It was our best game of the championship. We played without Redikas, who had a small concussion and didn't train for two days," Lithuania coach, Kazys Maksvytis, said after the game.

"They key was playing good defence. We only allowed 43 points and our defensive stops made everything much easier on offence."

It was Edgaras Ulanovas, who took over the scoring duties in the second half, as Lithuania went on a 16-1 stretch in the third quarter to pull away and take a commanding 65-28 lead.

With the outcome of the game decided well before the final buzzer, the coaches of both teams allowed second unit players more playing time at the end of the game.

"We tried out some different defensive systems that worked well for a while, but we couldn't hold on for longer," said Greece coach Kostas Missas.

"The biggest problem was that my players didn't believe they could win against Lithuania, because they had lost to these Lithuanian players in U16, U18 championships by 20 or 30 points. It was all psychological."

Ulanovas made 4-of-6 three-pointers and led all scorers with 18 points and 6 rebounds, Zygimantas Skucas finished the game with 14 points, while Cizauskas had a great all-around game with 11 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists.

Melissaratos was the best player in a sluggish Greek performance with 15 points and 8 rebounds, but no other player in the team reached double digits, as the team shot only 23.2% from the field.

In the semi-final, Lithuania will play the winner of the quarter-final match-up between Latvia and Serbia, while Greece will have to play in the Classification Round for 5th to 8th Place.


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