30 August, 2014
14 September
13 Ender ARSLAN (Turkey)
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SPAIN 2014: Lithuania edge Tall Blacks, Preldzic saves Turkey; Brazil and Serbia cruise

BARCELONA/MADRID (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Another day, another two dramatic finishes at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.

While Serbia and Brazil were convincing winners in Madrid over Greece and Argentina, respectively, Lithuania had to pull out all stops to beat New Zealand in Barcelona and Turkey needed a late Emir Preldzic three-pointer to stun Australia in the second game at the Palau Sant Jordi.

The Tall Blacks, thanks largely to the hot hand of Corey Webster (26 points), hit back from a 15-point deficit and took the lead in the fourth quarter, only for Lithuania to scrape a 76-71 victory.

Jonas Valanciunas had 22 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots for the Lithuanians.

Webster's three-pointer with 7:12 remaining gave the Kiwis a 59-58 lead.

Valanciunas, with his team wobbling, drew a foul in the paint by Isaac Fotu and made both free-throws to put the Baltic side back in front.

Then with the game knotted at 61-61, Valanciunas again went to the line and sank two free-throws.

The Tall Blacks refused to go away with a Mika Vukona jumper tying the game at 65-65 with 2:42 to play.

Valanciunas again came up big for Lithuania, though, with a jump shot 2:16 from the death and this time, Lithuania stayed in front for good.

In the second game in Barcelona, Australia bossed proceedings for much of the contest but fell to Turkey, 65-64.

The result has thrown the Turks into a Quarter-Final showdown with Lithuania.

Matthew Dellavedova's two free-throws with 5:56 to go in the third quarter lifted the Boomers into a 48-36 advantage but Turkey stayed within striking distance.

Preldzic, who had no points in the first half, scored 16 after the interval.

His most important baskets came in the final minute.

Preldzic hit a shot from the arc to cut Australia’s lead 64-62 with 48 seconds to go.

The Boomers then failed to beat the 24-second shot-clock, turning it back over to Turkey.

After Ergin Ataman called a timeout and put the fate of his team in the hands of Preldzic, the small forward dribbled until the clock had seven seconds on it. He then uncorked a three-pointer that was straight and true.

There were still five seconds remaining and Australia called timeout.

When Joe Ingles received an inbounds pass, he dribbled close to the basket and had the ball knocked away.

Sinan Guler was also terrific for Turkey, keeping them within striking distance in the first half when he poured in 14 of his 16 points. Guler repeatedly drove into the heart of the Australian defense and scored with lay-ups.

Madrid is where first Serbia and then Brazil recorded resounding triumphs.

The Serbians, who finished fourth in Group A, thrashed Greece, 90-72.

Aleksandar Djordjevic's team connected on nine of 17 shots from long range, with Bogdan Bogdanovic four of seven.

Bogdanovic had 21 points in the win.

The Serbians will now play in the Quarter-Finals against Brazil, who broke open a close game in the third quarter of their game against their nemesis Argentina and rolled to an 85-65 victory.

Tiago Splitter's lay-up with 6:39 to play in the third quarter gave the Brazilians a 37-36 lead and they never trailed again.

The advantage ballooned to 57-47 late in the frame with a Marquinhos Vieira three-pointer.

Ruben Magnano's team pulled away for a decisive victory in the last quarter.

Raul Neto finished with a game-high 21 points for Brazil.

Brazil defeated Serbia in Group A, 81-73.