|12 July 2005|
Lithuania preserved their 100% winning record at the ACI Trading Ltd U20 European Championship Men in Chekov on Tuesday with an 87-65 win over France.
Despite the eventual 22-point margin, Lithuania were made to work for the victory and faced easily their toughest challenge of the tournament so far.
France looked convincing in the first half behind strong performances form little-used substitute Pierre Parker (who scored all 7 of his points in the opening 2 minutes of the second quarter) and Jean-Michel Mipoka (10 points).
The result was that France maintained a small lead throughout the first 20 minutes and the score was 39-47 in their favour at the half.
Lithuania, however, are the gold medal favourites for a reason and they came storming back in the third quarter.
It was guard Renaldas Seibutis who led the charge with an outstanding third quarter display.
The 196 cm Seibutis already had 12 points to his name at halftime, but his 13 third period points helped turn an 8-point deficit into a 10 point lead (64-54) at the 30-minute mark.
Seibutis did his damage from all over the court, but it was his ability to consistently beat his defender and get to the rim that proved too much for the French defense to handle.
With the game now firmly under control, Lithuania went from strength to strength in the fourth quarter, giving France no hope of a comeback.
They outscored their opponents 48-18 in the second half and coasted home to another easy win.
Seibutis finished with 27 points to his name, while Jonas Maciulis added 18 and Arturas Jomantas contributed 15 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists.
Mipoka was the only French player to crack double figures, with his 10 points all coming in the first half.