Lithuania Use Big Scoring Run To Reach Semis


Lithuania used a 19-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to pull away from Spain for a 82-66 victory and secure advancing to the semi-finals of the U18 European Championship Men.

Donatas Motiejunas scored 24 of his 31 points in the first half and added 14 rebounds while Tautvydas Slezas collected 19 points and 17 rebounds as Lithuania improved to 3-1 in the Qualifying Round Group E.

Gediminas Bertasius chipped in 11 points for Vitoldas Masalskis's team who will clash with Greece on Thursday for top honours in the group.

Alejandro Martínez's cardiac kids from Spain offered the fans in Amaliada another frantic comeback attempt but once again came up short, dropping to 1-3. Ignacio Llovet paced Spain with 14 points while Josep Franch added 11 in a losing effort.

Lithuania came out the sharper team and opened a 9-0 lead before Spain finally hit their first shot - a three-pointer by Alberto Jodar. Martínez's team had no answer inside for Motiejunas, who tallied 15 points as Lithuania charged away to a 25-13 advantage after one period.

The combination of Motiejunas and Slezas inside and a three-ball from Matas Sapiega kept the Spaniards at bay and gave Lithuania a 43-29 lead at half-time.

Lithuania failed to score on their first five possessions and Spain scored the first eight points out of the changing rooms. Giedrius Staniulis hit Lithuania's first basket of the period for a 47-39 lead but Llovet converted two three-point plays to bring the Iberians within 47-45 with four minutes left in the third.

Slezas, however, converted a three-point play and Bertasius knocked down a triple for a 61-50 lead after three quarters.

Slezas and Motiejunas once again took charge as Lithuania scored the first 14 points of the fourth period to blow the game open - holding Spain without a basket for nearly 10 minutes and not allowing the Spaniards to score a point until Franch's free throw with 4:16 to play. Spain made the final result a bit more respectable down the stretch.




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