In a much harder game than expected Lithuania defeated China 78-67 to earn the spot in the quarter-finals. The Greens will now face either Argentina or Brazil. The two sides will meet in less than 30 minutes.
China opened the scoring in the first quarter after Wang Zhi Zhi’s shot from inside the paint. A minute later Mantas Kalnietis nailed a three-pointer to take Lithuania ahead 3-2 and that was the only lead them in a long time. China responded with nine unanswered points before their opponents made their second shot. Multi-time Asian champions reached their biggest lead of the game (11 points) after Sun Yue scored with a foul.
Linas Kleiza and Simas Jasaitis carried Lithuania during the first period. Their effort helped to narrow the gap to five points. China up 22-17 after ten minutes of play.
Lithuanians improved their defence slightly which helped to come closer to their opponents. Robertas Javtokas scored inside the paint midway through the second quarter to bring his team ahead for only second time in the game. From that moment Lithuanians never let the lead slip from their hands despite serious efforts from China to tie the game.
The second half of the game saw the Baltic Giants taking a 15-point lead. And when it seemed like the game is over, China made 11-1 run to narrow the gap to just five points in the middle of the fourth quarter. But that wasn’t enough as Linas Kleiza was having a stellar performance with 30 points and led his team to the sixth straight win in World Championship.
Score by quarters: 17-22; 26-18; 21-11; 14-16
Lithuania: Linas Kleiza 30, Martynas Gecevicius 14, Mantas Kalnietis 11, Martynas Pocius 7, Paulius Jankunas 5, Simas Jasaitis 4, Robertas Javtokas 4, Tomas Delininkaitis 3.
China: Liu Wei 21, Jianlian Yi 11, Wang Zhi Zhi 11, Wang Shipeng 10, Sun Ye 9, Zhou Peng 5.