Belgium stuns Lithuania 76-74 at EuroBasket


Pierre-Antoine Gillet made a buzzer-beating tip-in to give Belgium an upset 76-74 victory over Lithuania at the European basketball championship on Monday.
Mantas Kalnietis missed a 3-point attempt for Lithuania with four seconds left on the clock and Sam van Rossom grabbed the rebound, ran down the court and attempted a one-arm floater that bounced off the rim. Gillet tipped it in for his only basket of the game. There was a long review of the play before the referees concluded that the basket counted.
“It’s a very important victory against a medal candidate,” Belgium coach Eddy Casteels said. “My players were fantastic. But we still haven’t qualified (for the knockout stage).”
In another upset, Petteri Koponen sank a jumper with three seconds remaining for Finland to beat Russia 81-79.
Lithuania had a 74-68 lead with just over two minutes left , but consecutive 3-pointers from Jonathan Tabu and Axel Hervelle brought Belgium level.
Lithuania was the silver medalist behind France two years ago and is a perennial medal contender at the Euros. Belgium qualified for the European championships in 2011 after an absence of 18 years and lost all five of its games. It made the second round two years later.
Matt Lojeski led Belgium with 20 points, Tabu had 16 and van Rossom finished with 13. Center Jonas Valanciunas had 25 points and 12 rebounds for Lithuania.
“I thought we’d have one chance in a hundred and we took it. We did everything possible to make life difficult for Valanciunas, we swarmed him. We are a physical team,” Casteels said.
Both Lithuania and Belgium are now 2-1 in Group D in Riga, Latvia.
In Montpellier, France, Finland earned its first victory in three games, while Russia dropped to 0-3.
Vitaly Fridzon, who led Russia with 22 points, missed a last-gasp 3-point attempt after Koponen’s final basket.
Koponen finished with 12 points, Sasu Salin had 16 and Erik Murphy, an American-born forward, led Finland with 19.
Andrey Vorontsevich had 13 points and 11 rebounds for Russia, once a strong team that has fallen on hard times. Russia won the 2007 European title and finished third in 2011, only to fall to 21st two years ago.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here