Home National Teams Lithuania Crowned Champions After Drama

Lithuania Crowned Champions After Drama

Even without the star of the team, Jonas Valanciunas, Lithuanian U-20 side managed to finish its youth stage with another gold. The team which won U-15 Olympic Festival, U-16 and U-18 European Championships as well as U-19 World Championship triumphed yet again.

After five points from Livio Jean-Charles and a three-pointer from Axel Toupane, France took an early 8-6 lead, but Vytenis Cizauskas scored five points in a row to start a 16-3 run for Lithuania which helped them end the quarter with a 24-11 advantage.

Lithuania were up 27-12 after Mockevicius’ basket, but France stepped up their defensive game, keeping Lithuania scoreless for seven minutes to close the gap to four points at 23-27. However, the Baltic side regained a double-digit lead after Zygimantas Skucas hit a trey at the halftime buzzer to make it a twelve-point game (36-24).

Despite starting the second half by allowing four points in a row, France managed to shrink the deficit to only seven points behind baskets from Axel Toupane and Westermann chipped the deficit down to seven points (36-43).

France started the final period with a 6-0 spurt and cut the gap to a single point, 43-42, after Toupane made a three-pointer in transition.

Rolandas Jakstas answered with a basket from under the rim and Arnas Butkevicius added a trey to push the Lithuanian lead back to six points.

But France wasn’t willing to give up just yet, as Rudy Gobert made two free-throws and added an alley-oop dunk after Westermann’s pass to make it a one-possession game (49-47) with just over two minutes remaining.

Down two points and with 34 seconds left on the clock, French point guard Westermann made both free-throws to tie the game at 49-49.

After Skucas split a pair of three-throws with 14.3 seconds on the clock, France took possession but Westermann lost the ball to Ulanovas, handing the victory to Lithuania.

Mockevicius led the winners with 11 points and 5 rebounds, while Skucas added 10 and 4 boards, as Cizauskas ended the game with 9 points, 8 rebounds, 6 steals and 4 assists. For France, Toupane had 16 points, while no other players reached double digits. Rudy Gobert had nine points and 10 rebounds and Livio Jean-Charles added nine points and 12 boards.

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Source: fibaeurope.com, TalkBasket.net

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