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Lithuania's blowout against Iceland turns sour; Juskevicius to step in for injured Lekavicius
SIAULIAI (FIBA EuroBasket 2017) - Lithuania played their best basketball of the summer in their penultimate friendly game before FIBA EuroBasket 2017, against Iceland, with competition for roster spots no longer in the back of everyone's minds, however there was trouble for the Green Machine.
Head coach Dainius Adomaitis was forced back to the drawing board only a day after naming his finalized 12-man selection for the tournament, with 23-year-old back-up point guard Lukas Lekavicius leaving the court in the middle of the second quarter with what later turned out to be a foot fracture that will keep him out of the tournament.
Lithuania's adjusted 12-player roster for FIBA EuroBasket 2017
|Eimantas Bendzius||Martynas Gecevicius||Marius Grigonis||Arturas Gudaitis|
|Adas Juskevicius||Mantas Kalnietis||Mindaugas Kuzminskas||Jonas Maciulis|
|Arturas Milaknis||Donatas Motiejunas||Edgaras Ulanovas||Jonas Valanciunas|
Having been the last players to leave the squad alongside big man Evaldas Kairys on Tuesday evening, 28-year-old Lietkabelis Panevezys combo guard Adas Juskevicius was quickly reinserted back into the lineup as a replacement.
"In announcing the 12-man roster, we had talked with the players that we still have two friendly games remaining and if anything happens, these two players are first in line to return if anything unforeseen takes place," explained coach Adomaitis, following the 84-62 victory that left a sour aftertaste.
This will not be an entirely new role for Juskevicius, who made the roster for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2014 in similar circumstances after Mantas Kalnietis injured his shoulder in the preparation process leading up the tournament.
He also represented Lithuania at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, averaging 3.3 points and 1.3 assists in a limited playing time.
Lithuania got off to a slow start in the friendly game circuit, winning just three out of seven contests before Wednesday's big win over Iceland, with losses against Georgia, Croatia, France and Latvia, but had been progressing steadily of late.
The Adomaitis-coached side will play their last test game against Spain in Vilnius on August 25 before heading out to Israel, where they will face Georgia, Germany, Italy, Ukraine, as well as the Group D hosts Israel.