IZMIR, Turkey — Lithuania’s national basketball team has two victories under its belt thus far in the 2010 FIBA World Championship, making quick work of New Zealand on Saturday and edging by Canada on Sunday.
The Tall Blacks kept it close in the first quarter with Lithuania but faltered in the second as Lithuania pulled ahead by 16 points. New Zealand didn’t give up in the second quarter but were unable to overcome the margin and lost 92-79.
The Canadians proved tougher for the small Baltic state that has become a basketball powerhouse. This time it was Lithuania that had to try and come from behind after the Canadians led by ten points at the end of the first half, but scrappy shooting by the Lithuanian squad saw them pull just ahead in the second half to win 70-68.
In the post-game press conference the national team’s new coach Kęstutis Kemzūra, who replaced Ramūnas Butautas after Lithuania’s disappointing performance in Eurobasket ’09, expressed trepidation about the team’s performance ahead of Tuesday’s big game against Spain.
“I was very nervous in this game. It took some time for us to figure out a way to win, what to do when the ball wasn’t going into the basket,” Kemzūra said.
Lithuania’s game against Spain is at 9:30 p.m. Baltic time.
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