Sweet 16: Sabonis, Lithuania Advance To Next Round Of EuroBasket Play
In a win-or-go-home situation for Lithuania, Domantas Sabonis and Jonas Valančiūnas did exactly what they needed to do for their team to advance.
Sabonis and Valančiūnas combined for 25 points and 21 rebounds during Lithuania’s convincing 87-70 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday morning in Cologne, Germany to extend their stay in EuroBasket 2022 competition.
With the win, Lithuania clinched a top-four finish in Group B and advanced to the Round of 16 that will begin this weekend.
Jonas Valanciunas is a problem 😲
— #EuroBasket 2022 (@EuroBasket) September 7, 2022
Lithuania came out firing in the first quarter as guard Marius Grigonis knocked down four three-pointers to score 14 of his team’s 28 points in the opening period. Although Grigonis’ hot start put Lithuania ahead by eight points early, Bosnia and Herzegovina used a 10-2 run to tie things up at 28-28 heading into the second quarter.
Thanks to multiple trips to the foul line, Sabonis got his offense going in the second quarter as the two-time All-Star finished the first half with 11 points (three-of-four shooting from the field and five-of-six from the foul stripe) and three assists.
With Sabonis pulling his weight on the offensive end, Lithuania was able to build a commanding 56-42 lead at the break after doubling Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 14-point total in the second quarter. Valančiūnas posted a double-double before the halftime horn sounded, having scored 11 points, pulled down 10 boards, and dished five assists over two-quarters of action.
Bosnia and Herzegovina showed signs of life towards the end of the third period in the form of a 12-6 run as Lithuania’s once 22-point lead was trimmed to 72-56 entering the fourth.
In the end, Lithuania’s offense would prove to be too much for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s defense as the Lithuanians ended the game having shot 50 percent from the field, 11-of-26 (42 percent) from beyond the three-point arc, and 87 percent from the charity stripe.
Sabonis followed up Tuesday’s 19-point outing against Hungary with 12 points, six rebounds, and four assists during Wednesday’s elimination game. Although the 26-year-old didn’t have an efficient showing from the field (three-of-eight shooting), the talented center took care of business from the free-throw line, hitting six of his eight attempts.
Portland Trail Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkić–who is known as the ‘Bosnian Beast’–was held in check throughout the game by Lithuania’s defense as the 28-year-old checked out with 15 points on six-of-14 shooting from the field over a team-high 35 minutes.
Next up for Sabonis and Lithuania: a Round of 16 matchup against Spain–Group A’s number-one seed–on Saturday morning in another win-or-go-home situation.
Current Group B standings
- France (3-1)**
- Germany (3-1)**
- Slovenia (3-1)**
- Lithuania (2-3)**
- Bosnia and Herzegovina (2-3)
- Hungary (0-4)
** team has advanced to the round of 16
- The top four teams in each group advance to the round of 16
- Tiebreakers are determined by head-to-head record
Sactown Sports 1140 will be covering Sacramento Kings centers Domantas Sabonis (Lithuania) and Alex Len (Ukraine)’s EuroBasket performances over the next two weeks! Be sure to continue to stay locked in on all of our social media channels and SactownSports.com