|23 July 2009|
Jonas Valanciunas dunked the ball at the buzzer to help Lithuania beat Italy 86-85 in the U18 European Championship Men 2009, in Metz, France.
Italy seemed on their way to a certain victory late in the final quarter as they led by as many as seven, 81-74, and displayed all the right signs of confidence and of holding a psychological advantage that a winning team should.
But Lithuania scored 12 of the last 16 points of the game to stun everyone in attendance in what was an exciting game with lead changes aplenty.
Valanciunas made a shot with four seconds left to tie the game at 84 all and Italy's Andrea De Nicolao hit the second of a pair of free-throws in what many thought was the final blow.
Valanciunas finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds.
The game was high-scoring early on with Italy leading 29-23 at the end of the first quarter. They extended it to 34-27 early in the second period but Mantas Kadzevicius and Vytenis Cizauskas took over the scoring load Lithuania as they in turn edged ahead 38-34.
Italy responded and trailed by just one, 48-47, at the break. The game was close throughout the third quarter and Lithuania were back in front by one heading into the final frame.
Alessandro Ramagli's side made their push midway through the final period but were outplayed in the closing minutes.