Semi-Final - Lithuania 57 Slovenia 97

Jon Ingram

Slovenia romped into the final of the Eural Trans Gas European Championship for U20 Men by virtue of their demolition of Lithuania in the first semi-final here in Brno.

A lightning quick start from the Slovenians rocked Lithuania to their heels and they were never able to recover. Lithuania have put up 81 ppg here so far in Brno, but suffered today what could only be described as an offensive meltdown, underlined by a 3rd quarter in which they scored only 11 points.

Both Slovenia and Erazaem Lorbek seem to be peaking at the right time. After netting 31 points in the quarters, the 209 cm center was once again unstoppable. He left the game in the 3rd quarter with 26 points to his name and his team up by 30.

Erazem Lorbek
Lorbek was the catalyst for Slovenia’s first start, but he got significant help inside from fellow center Hasan Rizvic.

Rizvic scored a total of 10 points in Slovenia’s last 2 games, but against Lithuania he couldn’t miss. He accounted for 11 first quarter points and spearheaded a 25:11 end of period scoreline.

Lithuania were reeling from Slovenia’s heavy blow, but the knockout punch was yet to be administered. There were signs of life from Lithuania in the second period as their 2 top scorers Linas Kleiza and Paulius Jasnkunas shouldered the offensive load. They combined for 12 second quarter points and by halftime the Slovenia lead was cut to double-digits, 32:43.

But the third period proved to be their undoing.

Lithuania plumbed the depths of offensive futility in the 3rd quarter. In the opening 8 minutes their only 6 points came on free throws and it was only with under 1-30 to play that they registered their first field goal - a breakaway lay-up by Arturas Jomantas.

While Lithuania couldn’t get a basket for love nor money, Slovenia were calmly sinking their shots and pulling further and further out of reach.

A put-back dunk from Lorbek was his last contribution to the game. With over 2 minutes remaining he had already scored 26 points, 13 in the 3rd period. Slovenia’s lead had reached 30 points (36:69) and there was no coming back.

The 4th quarter was an opportunity for Slovenian coach Ivan Sunara to empty his bench and all 12 of his players got on the scoresheet. As well as Lorbek’s 26, Rizvic had 17 points on 7/8 shooting while Domen Lorbek contributed 16.

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