|14 July 2011|
U20 European Championship
Lithuania celebrated their debut win in the U20 European Championship in Bilbao, Spain after an 82-77 triumph over Italy in Group D.
Tomorrow Lithuania will try to remain perfect against Ukraine while Italy will seek their first win when playing Germany.
Saulius Kulvietis led the way for the winners with 32 points and 10 rebounds and used the help of Dovydas Redikas with 12 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds and Augustas Peciukevicius who posted 11 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
Achille Polonara was the top scorer for Italy with 18 points, Andrea De Nicolao scored 15 and Nicoló Melli finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds that weren't enough for the win.
The Lithuanians enjoyed the better start and a fast break finish by Redikas made it a 15-10 score after 7 minutes of basketball, yet De Nicolao scored from the arc and early in the second quarter Italy was on top 18-21, on their way to a 21-27 gap after 14 minutes.
Kulvietis scored 4 points in a row and with a bucket plus bonus from the free throw line set the game on a 39-39 tie after 20 minutes.
Polonara collected 5 points in a row for Italy midway in the 3rd as the swing continued but Kulvietis, that was scoreless for 7 minutes for a change, replied with the exact same coin and now Lithuania was up 53-50.
One of the main obstacles for Lithuania from taking over the game was a mass of turnovers, no less than a total of 31, but when things finally connected the score changed as well.
A fast break three point hit by Kulvietis followed by a jumper pushed him to 29 points with 6:42 to play but more importantly played a key part in Lithuania's 9-0 run that wrote a 71-60 gap, the first double-digit margin of the game.
In the closing six minutes Italy tried to come back but never put the lead under risk and walked off the floor with their first loss.