By Kevin Anselmo
Lithuania and Croatia will look to continue their winning ways when the two teams tip-off this evening at the Moraca Sports Center in Podgorica in the second day of preliminary round play.
Lithuania´s revamped squad posted a convincing 87-75 victory over Turkey last night. They hope to ride the momentum and build from last night´s victory.
“We still have a lot to improve on in this championship,” Lithuanian forward Robertas Javtokas said.
For the second consecutive night, Lithuania will be going up against an athletic frontcourt. Lithuanian head coach Antanas Sireika can hope for similar results when his team held Turkey´s star center Mehmet Okur to seven points.
“I think it will be a difficult game,” Sireika said.
Croatia, who trailed after each the first three quarters of their 88-84 win over Bulgaria last night, will need a complete game to prevail against the defending EuroBasket champions.
“We will have to play better against Lithuania then we did last night,” Croatian head coach Neven Spahija said.
Both teams were offensively led by their shooting guards in their opening night victories. Ramunas Siskauskas scored 20 points for Lithuania, while Gordan Giricek led Croatia with 22.
Croatia´s defense struggled last night defending the perimeter as Bulgaria connected on 11 of 27 three-point field goals and allowed 21 first half points to Todor Stoykov. In the second half, Croatia held Stoykov to six points by putting increased pressure on the Bulgarian team captain. Croatia hope to continue this trend against Lithuania´s three point shooters, who went 9-for-23 against Turkey.
Lithuania and Croatia have matched up four previous times, the last time occurring in 1999. Lithuania has won three of those games.