Sharpshooting Lithuania sends Turkey out of Basketball World Cup
BARCELONA - Reuters
Lithuania's forward Martynas Pocius (C) vies with Turkey's forward Emir Preldzic (R) and Turkey's forward Kerem Gönlüm (L) during the 2014 FIBA World basketball championships quarter-final match Lithuania vs Turkey at the Palau Sant Jordi arena in Barcelona. AFP PhotoTurkey has failed to stop a fourth quarter blowout by Lithuania and bowed out of the FIBA 2014 World Cup at the quarterfinal following a 73-61 defeat on Sept. 9.
Former European champions Lithuania, who finished third in the 2010 World Cup, needed a strong final quarter to see off Turkey, who made a brighter start and took a 14-6 lead.
Lithuania was lethal from behind the arch and shot 10-for-19 in three-pointers. Turkey, however, could sink only three of its 18 three-point attempts and coach Ergin Ataman said that made the difference.
“The most important factor that decided the game was Lithuania’s great percentage from long range,” he said. “We, on the other hand, could not convert any chance. It was impossible to win with making only three out of 18 attempts, which makes a 17 percent.”
Despite trailing 18-13 at the end of the first quarter and 28-23 at halftime, lethal long-range shooting hauled the Lithuanians back into the game to turn a 40-36 deficit early in the second half into an unassailable 12-point lead in the closing stages.
Shooting guard Renaldas Seibutis led Lithuania with 19 points, Martynas Pocius added 13 and towering centre Jonas Valanciunas amassed 12 to go with 13 commanding rebounds.
urkey’s Kerem Gönlüm had 13 points and nine rebounds and Ömer Aşık added 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Lithuania will face the United States, who ran riot in a 119-76 win over Slovenia, in a mouth-watering basketball World Cup semifinal tonight.
The Slovenians held their own valiantly in the opening half against the Americans and were only 49-42 down at the interval as forward Domen Lorbek produced a superb performance.
The champions at times looked pedestrian in the first half as their captain James Harden missed his first seven shots, with fellow guard Klay Thompson and athletic center Anthony Davis pulling the strings to keep them in the driving seat.
But the second period produced one-way traffic as the U.S. hit top gear with six players finishing in double scoring digits. Thompson had a game-high 20 points while Harden and Kenneth Faried added 14 each.
Having arrived in Spain with a squad missing top NBA talent who turned down invitations to play, long-serving U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski was pleased with the effort.
“We played hard but we just couldn’t finish in the first half and then the floodgates opened after that,” he told a news conference.
Slovenia coach Jure Zdovc said: “We tried and for the first 23 minutes or so we were close but the power that they have was too much for us.
“They are a good team but they are not unbeatable and I think that the semifinal will be very different.”