Lithuania Sink Israel

24 July 2009

A 13-0 run in the first half propelled Lithuania to an easy 92-53 win over Israel at the U18 European Championship Men 2009 in Metz, France.

Israel led 12-11 late in the first quarter, but Lithuania used their quickness and efficient play in the open court to run off 13 unanswered points and put the game well and truly out of Israel's reach.

That spurt gave Marius Linartas' team a 24-12 advantage but Israel broke out from their slump - one which saw them go without a single point for more than six minutes - to come back within six, 26-20, thanks to the scoring punch of David Shamriz and Nimrod Tishman.

The Lithuanians though answered in fine fashion as they reeled off 14 unanswered points to lead by 20, 40-20, shortly before the break.

It was more of the same in the second half as Lithuania were up by 31, 70-39, at the end of the third quarter and they kept pouring it on, never allowing Israel to make any major inroads into the lead.

Aftewards, forward Gilvydas Biruta talked about the sense of focus Lithuania had for this game.

"Well we had a tough game yesterday, winning in the finals seconds against Italy, so we didn't want to come in under-prepared.

"We got off to an average start but once we got going, we kept it up. We played the kind of basketball we are capable of - smart and efficient."

And the familiarity within the team - nine of the 12 players have been together since playing at U16 level in 2007 - was not wasted on Biruta.

"It makes the game a lot easier to be with the same guys year after year. So we are very confident with this group of guys," he explained.

Osvaldas Matulionis had 16 points and eight rebounds to lead the way and Jonas Valanciunas added 15 while Birutas finished with 10.

Nimrod Tishman, who led Israel to a shock defeat of Russia on Thursday, had a game-high 20 points.


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