ŁÓDŹ, Poland — Lithuanian national basketball coach Ramūnas Butautas has handed in his resignation after his side crashed out of EuroBasket ’09 with an 89-79 loss at the hands of Serbia.
“We finish this tournament early, we didn’t play well here, only winning one game. With this result I must leave this team and sorry to our fans who stayed with us the whole time,” Butautas said on eurobasket2009.org.
Though Butautas performed well in the run up to the competition, he failed to shine when it mattered.
Going in as one of the pre-tournament favorites, the Lithuanians stumbled their way through pool play before crashing out on the back of three losses in second round.
With their fate decided before their Wednesday night match against Serbia, the Lithuanians produced arguably some of their best basketball of the tournament.But just as it looked like they may be able to pull off one final victory, the same mistakes that have plagued them throughout the tournament began to slip back into their game as they let Serbia run away with the game.
Lithuania fought well in the first-half, keeping the Serbs in check until poor passes and basic errors meant they went into half-time trailing 41-37.
Early in the third-quarter as the Serbian lead crept out to five, the Lithuanians began to get on a roll, going on an 11-0 run to take a handy 52-46 lead halfway through the period.
But poor options again cost them as Serbia fought back into the game to be leading by two (63-61) going into the final quarter.
Lithuania came out strong in the final quarter building a four-point lead (75-71) with just under four and a half minutes remaining. At this point Serbia stepped their game up significantly, nailing six three-pointers in a row to finish off the Lithuanians.
The poor result means Lithuania fails to qualify for next year’s world championship in Turkey.