Rubstavicius drops 38 as Lithuania stun France; Israel to meet Spain in Semi-Final
PODGORICA (Montenegro) - Eight became four in the running for the FIBA U20 European Championship title as Israel, Lithuania, Montenegro and Spain all came through their Quarter-Finals on Thursday.
Something will have to give in the Semi-Finals as unbeaten Spain will take on two-time defending champions Israel, while Lithuania will be out to spoil the party of hosts Montenegro in the other tie after a stunning result.
Mantas Rubstavicius produced arguably the performance of the tournament with a scintillating 38-point haul to lead Lithuania to an impressive win over France. The 20-year-old guard finished an efficient 13-of-18 from the floor including five triples in the 89-79 triumph.
Lithuania made an unrelenting start as they forced their opponents into multiple turnovers in a 28-13 first-quarter effort. The lead peaked at 20 points just prior to half-time before France rallied in the third to cut their deficit down to just four points at 58-54.
However, Rubstavicius had other ideas and hit a three at the start of the fourth to set the tone as Lithuania pulled away to complete a 10-point win behind an unforgettable individual display.
Earlier, Spain had become the first team through to the last four as they opened the day's action with a convincing 95-71 success over Belgium. They continued their perfect record with a fifth successive win after pulling away with a 28-11 second quarter as Millan Jimenez top scored with 22 points.
Israel battled past Turkey in a fascinating duel as the title holders claimed an 82-73 victory with five different players in double figures. The third quarter proved pivotal as Israel established a double-digit advantage and will next face Spain in the Semi-Finals.
Harel Rinski led the way with a game-high of 19 points with Noam Dovrat adding 16 points, 6 rebounds and 5 steals, while Adem Bona had 12 points and 10 boards for Turkey after being limited with foul trouble.
The final spot in the Semi-Finals went to Montenegro as they rounded out the last eight encounters by beating Croatia 89-67 to book a clash with Lithuania.
The home side jumped out to a 27-13 start in the first 10 minutes and made sure of the win in dominant fashion with a 16-2 run to open the fourth to the delight of the home fans. Fedor Zugic and Andrija Grbovic combined for 36 points for Montenegro with three other players in double figures.
In the 9-16 Classification Games, Georgios Tanoulis posted 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead Greece past Poland in an 82-67 success, while Slovenia overcame Ukraine 86-81 despite 34 points from Maksym Shulga.
Germany eased past Portugal with a comfortable 86-60 victory with Italy also ensuring their safety by beating Czech Republic 71-70 in a nail-biting final game of the day as Leonardo Okeke put up 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Three of the teams in the 13-16 Classification Games face relegation next summer and two will be confirmed on Saturday as Portugal meet Czech Republic and Poland take on Ukraine with consecutive wins needed to hold onto their Division A status.