By Menelaos Sevastiadis
Two favorites from Europe retained their titles, one semi-favorite from the Balkans got beat down by a South American team and Nigeria wrote history in one of the biggest upsets in recent international basketball history against Greece.
Lithuania survived Puerto Rico in a 76-72 win with Sarunas Jasikevicius (11 p.) sealing the deal in the last minute and will face Dominican Republic at the semifinals of FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The team of coach John Calipari was trailing by 20 points in the second quarter, but made a big come back and finally won FYROM by 10 points (86-76). Russia strolled against Angola (80-65) and will face Nigeria in the semifinals.
Ade Dagunduro scored 7 straight points at the end, leading the Africans in the win by just one point (80-79) against Greece. Dagunduro also blocked – some said fouled – Vasilis Spanoulis last second attempt for a three pointer and left the Greek star who had a huge game (25 p., 7 r. 5 as.) and his team out of the run for a ticket to London Olympics.
It’s the first time since 2002 that Greece will miss a big international basketball tournament after two straight participations to the Olympics (2004, 2008).