Day 5 Men: LTU 100 - AUS 85
ATHENS - Ramunas SISKAUSKAS (LTU) scored only five points, but his final free throw with 20 seconds remaining marked the Olympic Men's Basketball competitions first 100 point game as Lithuania out-ran and out-gunned Australia 100-85.
The win gave Group B leaders Lithuania a perfect 5-0 record from preliminary play and sent them to the quarterfinals as the competition favourites alongside Spain (5-0).
The 2003 European Champions led the game 11-4 before Australia took a 19-17 lead late in the quarter and stayed within two points early in the second quarter. That was when star trio Sarunas JASIKEVICIUS, Saulius STOMBERGAS and SISKAUSKAS were called off the bench to spark a gamebreaking 27-5 run. giving Lithuania a commending 52-28 lead at half time.
Australia (1-4) didnt give up, managing to cut the huge deficit to 69-62 late in the third quarter using both perimeter (Shane HEAL, Glen SAVILLE) and inside strength (Andrew BOGUT).
But Lithuania was not going to relinquish its unbeaten status easily. In the last quarter Robertas JAVTOKAS scored six of his 23 points/9 rebounds, while STOMBERGAS hit two big threes and JASIKEVICIUS reached 11 points (five of them in the last period) to edge the Boomers.
Kristof LAVRINOVIC scored 18 points and grabbed 5 rebounds and STOMBERGAS and Darius SONGAILA contributed 12 and 10 points respectively.
BOGUT led Australia with 21 points and 9 boards, while SAVILLE added 19 points and HEAL and Matthew NIELSEN had 11 points apiece.
Sarunas JASIKEVICIUS (LTU) Guard
On the differences between European and USA basketball:
"European basketball is completely different to American basketball. The playing style in the United States is more physical and more athletic. In the United States you are up against younger players, contrary to Europe, where players are older, and thus more experienced. In the United States, players gather experience quicker, since games occur every other day."
Shane HEAL (AUS) Guard
On his teammate Andrew BOGUT:
"I believe that Andrew (BOGUT) has amazing talent for a guy his age. This Tournament will give him valuable experience on how to deal with pressure at this level. He still has a long way to go before he gets there, but he is very talented. I am very proud to be playing for Australia. There is always something to take home from a Tournament like this. Our team is a very inexperienced team, not a young team, but a team without much experience at this level. The experience gained here will be valuable to us in the future, and in the next Olympic Games in particular.
On the game:
"Our first quarter was great, our second was a disappointment. And when you are playing for pride, as we were, wearing the Australian colours is the biggest thing. We need to learn how to execute under pressure."
On his future in the national team:
"We still have one more game to go, and then I will announce my decision at the press conference."
On the Olympic Village:
"As far as the Olympic Village goes, I think the Greeks did a great job there. The transport to and from the Village is very good also. The food becomes a bit bland after a couple days, but that is the deal with every major tournament."
Source: Athens News Service