By Menelaos Sevastiadis
The two favorites of the tournament finally prevailed. Russia beat 85-77 Nigeria and Lithuania did the same against Dominican Republic (109-83) in the semifinals of FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament at Caracas, Venezuela. The two winners have already qualified to the Olympic games, while the two other teams will play between them for the last open spot at London 2012.
Andrei Kirilenko proved once again the leader of Russia with 19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists in a game that was finished by the third quarter, when the team of coach David Blatt got a 20 points lead (53-33) and the best Nigeria could do was to momentarily close the gap to six points (73-67) in the last period of the game.
Lithuania got five players scoring in double digits (Maciulis 19, Valanciunas 17, Kleiza 13, Pocius 12, Delininkaitis 11) in a game that turned out to be a blow out 109-83 win. The winners got also a 20 points lead in the third quarter (63-43) and there wasn’t any come back from the Dominican Republic.