Lithuania's dominance inside too much for Boomers
The Boomers have lost their first match of their three-game old European tour leading into the 2014 FIBA World Cup, going down to Lithuania 78-91 in front of a sell out crowd in Klaipeda. In a preview of what will be a Group D encounter at the World Cup in Spain, Lithuania showed their considerable depth in the front court with their three main big men all scoring in double figures, led by Jonas Valanciunas with 19 points in addition to 8 rebounds. Boomer veteran David Andersen led admirably from the front for the visitors with 19 points and 5 rebounds.
The Lithuanians got out to an early 15-7 lead after connecting on their first 4 field goal attempts. Looking to try to expose the Boomers via a high pick and roll. Valanciunus was proving a handful for Aron Baynes and Nathan Jawai with 7 first quarter points while being an intimidating presence on defense. Chris Goulding would break the shackles with a 3-pointer not long after entering the game late in the quarter, but otherwise limited opportunities on offense would see Australia enter the first break down 24-15.
Lithuania commenced the second quarter by continuing to create headaches for the Boomers inside, as Darjus Lavrinovic and Jonas Maciulis scored as Australia found themselves over the foul limit early. This allowed the Lithuanians to increase their lead to 38-25 from the free throw line midway through the term. Brock Motum managed to find some rare holes in the Lithuanian defense, scoring 6 quick points after entering the game early in the quarter. The Lithuanians relentless play inside however would see the home side go into the main break leading 55-42 led solidly by Valanciunis with 15 first half points and Mindaugas Kuzminskis with 11 points.
Starting the second half with a pair of David Andersen 3-pointers along with Matthew Dellavedova connecting from deep, saw Australia get back within striking distance in reducing the Lithuanian lead to just 7 points during the third quarter at 60-53. A fired up Valanciunus however would again cause havoc for the Boomers, with his dunk extending the Lithuanian lead back out to 67-55. Further hurting the visitors was foul trouble as Baynes collected his third foul and Andersen doing likewise with 3 minutes left in the quarter, after pouring in 10 points for the term. Unfortunately, Nathan Jawai again looked underdone and was proving vulnerable on defense and unreliable on offense when it was much-needed.
Starting the fourth quarter trailing 74-60, Australia found that eating into the deficit would prove to be an even tougher task after Baynes fouled out with 8 minutes remaining in the game. Andersen would continue to lead by example for the Boomers, hitting his third 3-pointer for the evening, however the Lithuanians continued to show they had the answers with Darjus Lavrinovic also connecting from distance for an 83-67 lead. While the second half would be split 36 points apiece, the first half damage for the Boomers was too great to overcome as they went down in the end by 13 points.
Motum was Australia's second leading scorer and only other Boomer to score in double figures with 10 points, while Mantas Kalnietis looked dangerous in the open floor and chipped in 12 points to go along with 7 assists for the home team.
The Boomers will not have to wait long to atone for the loss as they back up the following day for a match against Finland in Helsinki.
Australian Boomers Pre-World Cup Schedule
Airbnb Australian Boomers defeated Finland 100-95 Friday, 8 August @ Klaipeda, Lithuania 11:15pm AEST Recap + Replay
Airbnb Australian Boomers defeated Ukraine 75-60 Saturday, 9 August @ Klaipeda, Lithuania 11:15pm AEST Recap
Airbnb Australian Boomers lost to Lithuania 78-91 Tuesday, 12 August @ Klaipeda, Lithuania 2:00am AEST
Airbnb Australian Boomers lost to Finland Wednesday 13 August @ Helsinki, Finland 2:00am AEST Recap
Airbnb Australian Boomers defeated Ukraine 74-65. Saturday 16 August @ Nice, France 2:00am Recap
Airbnb Australian Boomers v Philippines Sunday 17 August @ Nice, France 2:00am TV: LIVE on ESPN2
Airbnb Australian Boomers v France Monday 18 August @ Nice, France 4:30am TV: LIVE on ESPN2
Airbnb Australian Boomers v Finland Saturday 23 August @ Strasbourg, France 4:30am
Airbnb Australian Boomers v France Monday 25 August @ Strasbourg, France 3:00am TV: LIVE on ESPN2
Australia opens the 2014 FIBA World Cup against Slovenia in Gran Canaria, Spain on August 31 at 1:30am AEST live on ABC2 or online on FIBA's livebasketball.tv.