Lithuania Stave Off Ukraine

15 September 2013

EUROBASKET 2013

Turning Point: Ukraine had fought back to within 64-63 with just more than a minute left when Linas Kleiza nailed a three-pointer. Maxym Korniyenko and Sergii Gladyr both missed three-point attempts and then Ukraine had a five second in-bounds turnover with 25 seconds left.
Game Hero: Linas Kleiza collected 15 points as well as five rebounds and two steals in leading Lithuania's charge.
Stats Don't Lie: Lithuania grabbed 17 offensive rebounds and only turned over the ball nine times.

11. Linas Kleiza (Lithuania)
None of Linas Kleiza's 15 points were more important than a clutch three late in the game to dampen Ukraine's hopes. 

Lithuania went three-for-three in the Second Round, knocking off Ukraine 70-63, who will also be joining Lithuania in the quarter-finals despite the loss.

Linas Kleiza led the way for Lithuania with 15 points and five rebounds while Donatas Motiejunas added 10 points and four rebounds as Lietuva improved to 4-1 in the group.

"Some were saying that Ukraine were not strong enough, are not playing interesting basketball but as we can see some teams that were not strong enough some years ago have now improved a lot and one of those teams is Ukraine. They are playing really good basketball and were able to beat a team like Serbia. So big respect to Ukraine who made it a really tough game for us," said Lithuania coach Jonas Kazlauskas.

"It was a very tough game and we are happy that we won, this game was important to us," said Lithuania center Darjus Lavrinovic.

Sergii Gladyr led Ukraine with 18 points while Pooh Jeter added 10 points and eight assists as the team dropped to 2-3 in the group but still moved into the quarters after Latvia lost to Belgium earlier in the day.

"It was a good game for us, I think we did a good job on defence against a great team. We are in the quarter-finals and I think we showed today that we deserve it. We didn't expect that we would go so far, but we go out there every night and play as hard as we can. I think it's happened because we are young and we are ambitious," said Gladyr.

The game started promising as Gladyr converted a four-point play straight away. Another Gladyr triple made it 8-3 for Ukraine. Lithuania responded with an 11-2 run to take a 14-10 lead, eventually extending the advantage to 18-13 after one quarter.

Motiejunas and Tomas Delininkaitis both nailed three-pointers as the Lithuania cushion grew to nine points at 28-19. The Ukrainians buckled down on defence as Lithuania did not make a basket in the final 5:41 minutes. Gladyr and Maksym Pustozvonov both knocked down triples in the final three minutes to get Ukraine within 32-30 at the break.

The game was tight throughout the third quarter with Lithuania's three-point lead at 35-32 the biggest advantage in the period, which included eight lead changes and three ties. Jeter nailed a late triple but Lavrinovic answered with a long ball of his own as Lithuania went up 48-46 after three quarters.

Ukraine pulled ahead 51-50 but Delininkaitis, Jonas Maciulis and Kleiza all nailed long balls in a 12-4 run for a 62-55 lead. Ukraine refused to go away and Jeter's free throws with 1:21 minutes remaining got the team to within 64-63. But Kleiza drained a three-ball with a 1:03 remaining for a 67-63 cushion. Maxym Korniyenko missed a triple with 51 seconds left and Gladyr also was off-target from long range before Ukraine failed to inbound the ball in time and Kleiza and Motiejunas combined for three foul shots in the final 22 seconds to secure the win.

 

 

 

 


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