Lithuania sent Puerto Rico home after a 76-72 win tonight, in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Caracas.
Veteran Sarunas Jasikevicius was the man of the match mainly because of his late clutch plays to claim the win (finished the game with 11 points). Maciulis with a double double, Kleiza and Kalnietis scoring in double digits were also important for the Lithuanian side.
Puerto Rico had Galindo as their best scorer with 17 points, with Arroyo trying a late push that wasn’t enough.
With a clear advantage on the front court due to the presense PJ Ramos, Puerto Rico started the game giving some touches to the big man which resulted in a hot start for the American team to finish the first quarter in the lead.
Both teams struggled on offense in the second quarter, with only excellent percentages from the charity stripe keeping the scoreboard alive. Lithuania went to the locker rooms for halftime with a 2 point lead in a poor game, 40-38.
In the third quarter, the two coaches made some changes in terms of offensinve sets and both teams got better, scoring with better percentages from the floor and increasing the pace of the game. But none of the teams could create a gap on the scoreboard.
Puerto Rico had to play without Peter Ramos in the last minutes and instead reposed their hopes somewhat on JJ Barea, but mainly on a semi injured Carlos Arroyo, but with 31 seconds left a layup from Jasikevicius put Lithuania on front 73-72.
After a bad pass by JJ Barea on the offense, Puerto Rico fouled Kleiza who only scored 1 free throw.
With 74-72 on the scoreboard; Puerto Rico still had a chance to tie or take the lead but they ended with all their chances with another turnover with 4 seconds on the clock.
Jasikevicius was fouled and scored both free throws to close the game with a 76-72 win.
Lithuania will play against Dominican Republic tomorrow for a spot on the Olympics.