Turning Point: Down three, Montenegro desperately required a basket. Tyrese Rice stepped up to save a broken play and knock down an unbelievable three with 10.7 seconds left to send the game into overtime. From there Mantas Kalnietis and Renaldas Seibutis added important baskets before Darjus Lavrinovic provided the knockout three to secure the win for Lithuania.
Game Hero: Ksistof Lavrinovic had appeared in just two games for a total of two points heading into the Montenegro clash. After receiving the start from coach Jonas Kazlauskas, he eclipsed that mark in the first quarter alone before knocking down a number of huge fourth quarter jump shots. He finished with 24 points on 9-for-11 shooting and three-for-four from downtown.
Stats Don't Lie: Sloppy passes accounted for many of Montenegro's 14 turnovers, leading to 16 easy points for Lithunania.
|Jonas Valanciunas had a productive 12-point, 10-rebound double-double|
Lithuania claimed a third straight win in Group B, defeating Montenegro 77-70 in overtime in Jesenice on Sunday to eliminate Montenegro from Second Round contention.
The seven-point Lithuanian victory sunk Montenegro to a third consecutive loss.
"It was tough on my team to look for a passage to the next round against Lithuania," Montenegrin coach Luka Pavicevic said.
"I would like to recognise it's really too bad that four games into the tournament we already know that we are not going to the Second Round.
"We missed opportunities, the last one was tonight, but more realistically, it happened in the games against Latvia and Bosnia and Herzegovina."
The Lavrinovic twins opened up Lithuania's account with consecutive threes, benefiting from some crisp ball movement and gaining an early advantage.
Against the odds, Montenegro found a way back into the contest despite some early foul trouble and five turnovers. Bigs Nikola Vucevic and Bojan Dubljevic hit late fourth quarter jump shots as Montenegro levelled the scores.
Vucevic displayed his best stretch of offensive production thus far at EuroBasket, dropping an assist out of the post to Aleksa Popovic before flying through the lane for a thunderous slam midway through the second term.
Ksistof Lavrinovic emerged as Lithuania's lone consistent offensive option throughout the half, providing easily his best performance of the tournament to score 13 points and grab three rebounds.
Jonas Valanciunas began the third quarter with a bang, dunking twice as the lead changed hands seven times.
The action did not stop in the fourth term- Montenegro fought back from an eight-point deficit to tie the game with Rice's shot that sent the game into overtime.
Rice made two free throws to make it a two-point game with two minutes remaining in the extra period, setting the stage for Darjus Lavrinovic's sealing three from the top of the arc before Valanciunas added a pair from the line to increase Lithuania's lead to a safe seven seconds.
"[Ksistof Lavrinovic] Was incredible today. He didn't play a lot in the last games, but he led us today," said point guard Mantas Kalnietis.
Coach Jonas Kazlauskas explained the decision to play the previously underutilised Lavrinovic for nearly 25 minutes.
"Our best player, [Linas] Kleiza, is a little too small. We saw how Montenegro attacked Teletovic from this position. We were trying to save Kleiza from this and that's why we started Lavrinovic," said Kazlauskas.
"That was a tough, tough game and our opponents played excellent," he added.
"We started from good defence and [still] had a lot of problems, but to expect that the European Championship will be anything different, it's impossible."
Valanciunas had a strong double-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in 28 minutes while Rice scored 19 for Montenegro.