The Australian Emus’ hopes of a podium finish at the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup have been dashed at the hands of Lithuania, suffering a 74-91 defeat in the Round of 16.
Australia was never truly able to recover from a slow start and despite some impressive runs in the second half, Lithuania was able to knock down several timely three-pointers to keep Australia at bay.
The Emus were out-scored by 15 from beyond the arc, with the corner three in particular proving to be a thorn in their side all night.
Pressing up on the ball from the tip, the Emus were unable to faze Lithuania whose efficient start saw them jump out to a 10-4 lead.
Tamuri Wigness and Kyle Bowen (eight points, five rebounds) provided a boost off the bench, combining for seven points in the first quarter, but Lithuania shot 57% from the field to set the pace.
It was then a stalemate to start the second before Sam Froling (17 points, eight rebounds) broke the deadlock after two and a half minutes, scoring five in a row for Australia.
At the other end of the floor, they were able to string consecutive stops together as well, restricting Lithuania to just two points in a four-minute span.
Lithuania settled after a time-out though, answering with an 11-3 run as only a late three-pointer from Isaiah Lee gave his side some hope heading into the main break.
It was a game-high 15 point lead early in the third term but the Emus returned to their press and it began to reap rewards.
A Froling three-pointer sparked a 9-0 run and Wigness (seven points, four assists) connected on an important and-one play to help cut the margin to three points.
However, Lithuania again steadied with a couple of timely three’s to push the deficit back to seven at three-quarter time.
Keli Leaupepe (16 points, seven rebounds) then worked overtime on the glass to do everything in his power to get the Emus in front down the stretch.
But Australia were not able to get the stops like they were in the third term as Lithuania figured out their press.
Once again, they punished the Emus from the three-point line and eventually, time ran out for the Aussies.
“Lithuania put us under pressure and limited our passing and driving lanes,” said Emus coach Darren Perry.
”After half-time we turned up our defensive pressure and changed the momentum of the game but we couldn’t make that extra play to get close enough.
“Our challenge is to take this significant hit and finish as high as we can. Obviously our goals were higher than what’s occurred here but we can’t change that now and need to look forward to the next game.”
Find the box score here and watch the replay below.
The Emus will now battle for placings in the classification games, next taking on the Philippines this Friday night with tip-off time to be confirmed by FIBA.
The Australian Emus Schedule for the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup (all times AEST):
June 29: Emus def. by Canada 76-81
June 30: Emus def. Latvia 81-52
July 3: Emus def. Mali 82-79
July 4: Round of 16- Emus def. by Lithuania 74-91
July 6: Classification Game- Emus vs. Philippines. Time TBC.
July 7: Classification Game
July 8: Classification Game