Lithuania has stifled the Emerging Boomers’ chance for a medal in a narrow 67-74 loss at the 2015 World University Games.
Match report provided by The Pick and Roll.
Mitch Creek’s game-high 21 points and 5 rebounds, along with a perfect 14-point (5/5 FG, 3/3 3PT) shooting performance from Hugh Greenwood –who also recorded 7 rebounds– were not enough to earn the win in what proved to be an incredibly close and hard-fought contest. Lithuania withstood the UniRoos’ challenge to earn second place in Group C, meaning Australia is relegated to playing off for positions 9 through 16.
Creek’s big game got going early, opening Australia’s scoring and displaying fine chemistry with teammate Mangok Mathiang. Lithuania however went on a 10-2 run to open up a ten-point lead midway through the period, before two three-pointers by Nick Duncan helped steady his side.
Shaun Bruce’s bucket in the dying seconds saw the Emerging Boomers close the gap back within 4 points (18-22) at the first break.
In the second period, Lithuania threatened to break away on a number of occasions, however Australia was able to respond to every challenge. Lemanis continued to rotate his players to maintain the intensity, with the four-point margin remaining unchanged at half-time.
Despite the competitive atmosphere, both teams surprisingly made only three trips to the line for the entire half, with all attempts coming from Australia (0/3).
It was clear early that both teams lifted the intensity to another level in the third quarter, with the game and the scores also tightening up. Dan Trist (nine points, five rebounds) was able to tie the game at 36-36 before Creek put Australia ahead for the first time since the first minute of the game (44-43) with 4:21 left.
Both teams would make multiple trips to the free throw line, ending with the Lithuanians back in front 53-48 heading into the last period.
The contest then turned into an arm wrestle, with neither team prepared to back down. Duncan (nine points, 3/5 3PT) connected on his third triple of the game to keep Australia within one, only to see Lithuania score the next five points.
Greenwood made back-to-back long bombs and delivered eight straight points for Australia to keep the margin at just one. Creek continued to score and keep the Emerging Boomers close, however they were unable to maximise their opportunities to steal the lead, falling short by just seven points.
Australia owned the rebound count 42-29 and shot the three-ball at 55% (6/11 3PT), however Lithuania connected on 47% of their shots from the field compared to Australia’s 41%. Lithuania also took better care of the ball and forced Australia into more turnovers (10-16) through five more steals.
There is no time for the UniRoos to reflect on what might have been after entering the tournament with high ambition. Another strong European side in Turkey awaits in the classification rounds as they strive to finish as high as ninth.
4 July, defeated Chinese Taipei 93-47
5 July, lost to France 45-71
7 July, defeated Japan 73-59
8 July, defeated Finland 82-69
9 July, lost to Lithuania 67-71
10 July, Classification (9-16) 3:30pm AEST vs Turkey
11 July, Final Classifications