Lithuania Destroy France To Get Chance At Gold

02.08.2008

Lithuania will get a re-match versus Greece in the final of the U18 European Championship after putting away France 79-55 in Saturday's second semi-final.

France had no answer for the Lithuania interior combination of Donatas Motiejunas, who had 24 points and seven rebounds and Tautvydas Slezas, who added 17 points and nine rebounds.

Gilvydas Biruta chipped in 15 points off the bench.

Andrew Albicy (France)
Andrew Albicy efforts were not enough for the French
In Sunday's final in Prygos, Vitoldas Masalskis's Lithuania  will take on hosts Greece, who beat Lithuania by 18 points just two days ago in the Qualifiying Round stage. The Lithuanians will be looking to capture their second title of this age group after gold in 1994.

France were paced by 15 points from Alexis Tanghe while Andrew Albicy added 11 in a losing effort. Philippe Ory's team missed their first 12 three-pointers while shooting 1-of-19 from long range and just 33 percent total from the floor for the game.

The French will take on Croatia in Sunday's bronze medal game  - also a re-match of the last match of the Qualifying Round stage.

Lithunania scored six straight points early in the first quarter for a 6-2 lead and Philippe Ory's team were still ahead 12-10 with four minutes left in the period. But the Lithuanians turned up the defensive pressure and held France without a basket for the rest of the quarter in reeling off a 10-0 surge for a 22-14 lead after one period.

Slezas's inside score pushed the advantage to double digits for the first time. The French struggled to get good looks in their half-court set and trailed 26-18 after Tanghe's jumper with six minutes left in the second. Motiejunas and Slezas then combined for eight points in a 12-1 run as Masalskis's men's hard work on defense was rewarded with a 38-19 advantage with two minutes left.

Despite missing all 10 three-pointers in the first half, the French were able to trim the margin to 39-24 at the break.

France were unable to cut into Lithuania's lead in the third period as Tanghe's lay-up made it 46-32. But Mantas Kadzevicius and Gilvydas Biruta both knocked down three-pointers in pushing the margin to 21 points - 57-36. Chrislain Cairo got it back to within 17 points but Motiejunas scored again and it was 64-42.

With the game already in hand, Masalskis began clearing his bench early in the fourth quarter and a second straight break-away dunk by Biruta pushed the advantage to 25 points - 70-35 with less than eight minutes to play. And the Lithuanian reserves were able to extend the lead to a game-high 27 points.


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