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Unlikely hero Venskus carries Lithuania to bronze in overtime
BRATISLAVA (FIBA U18 European Championship 2017) - Lithuania bounced back from their Semi-Finals upset against Serbia in the FIBA U18 European Championship 2017 to claim bronze after holding off Turkey 97-88 in a nail-biting overtime finish at the Hant Arena in Bratislava.
2000-born Erikas Venskus was the unlikely hero for the Lithuanians, making the game-tying basket at the end of regulation and finishing the game with a game-high 22 points and 7 rebounds.
The back-up center tallied up 15 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to shock Turkey who had led for the vast majority of the game. Arnas Velicka collected 16 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists for the bronze medalists, while Lukas Uleckas gave himself the best possible birthday present with 15 points and 6 assists.
Yigitcan Saybir paced Turkey with 21 points and 8 rebounds, with Eray Akyuz just falling short on a double-double after scoring 12 points and dishing out 9 assists.
"We turned on our concentration, started working harder on defense, making all the hustle players and got rewarded for that with a medal," spoke the team's forward Grantas Vasiliauskas.
In the other end of the standings, Montenegro sent Slovenia packing to Division B after winning the relegation battle 73-61 behind a 20-point and 5-rebound game from Danilo Brnovic and a 13-point and 9-rebound contribution from Marko Simonovic.
Montenegro kept their spot in Division A
It was the second Slovenian team to be relegated this summer after the country saw their side drop down in the FIBA U20 European Championship as well.
After being knocked out by Lithuania in the Quarter-Finals, Italy registered their second consecutive victory in the Classification Games to finish the tournament in 5th position with a 79-55 victory over France.
Guglielmo Caruso led the winners with 18 points and 6 rebounds in just 18 minutes of action, while Mattia Palumbo had another good game with 12 points. Ivan Fevrier was the top scorer for France with 17 points and 8 rebounds.
Georgios and Panagiotis Kalaitzakis paced the winners by scoring 16 and 15 points respectively and adding 6 rebounds apiece. Vojin Ilic collected 16 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals in a losing effort for Bosnia and Herzegovina.