Lithuania rolls over Montenegro for a perfect first round

2023-08-29T16:25:30+00:00 2023-08-29T17:18:58+00:00.

Aris Barkas

29/Aug/23 16:25

Lithuania completed with a 3-0 record the first phase of the FIBA World Cup and aims for a quarterfinal spot

By Aris Barkas/

MANILA, Philippines – In what was arguably the highest level game played so far in the Mall of Asia Arena, Lithuanian got the win over Montenegro and the advantage for a spot in the quarterfinals of the FIBA World Cup.

Prevailing, 91-71, they completed a perfect first round and they are going to the second phase with a 3-0 record. Montenegro will also be there but with a 2-1 record and fewer chances for a quarterfinal spot.

Rokas Jokubaitis with 19 points to go with six assists and five rebounds, and Mindaugas Kuzminskas chipping in 15 points led a balanced offensive effort for the winning side.

It was a very competitive game with Montenegro leading by one (27-26) after the first period, but losing ground when the second unit went in on the court.

Lithuania got into a 15-6 run (41-33), however, with Nikola Vucevic back on the floor, Montenegro made it a three-point game (41-38).

The answer for Lithuania was Jonas Valanciunas entering the floor, as his team managed to have a 48-40 advantage at halftime. For Montenegro, former Chicago Bulls big man Marko Simonovic had an electric start with 11 points in 11 minutes of action.

Watch the upcoming World Cup on the official streaming service of FIBA! Join Courtside 1891 and never miss a second of the action! 

The second half started with an 8-2 run (56-42) as Lithuania established a double-digit lead with Jokubaitis scoring half of those points for a total of 13 up to that point.

Montenegro managed to stop bleeding momentarily (56-46), but one more 10-2 run gave Lithuania a solid 18-point advantage (66-48), while the third quarter ended with the score being 66-50.

There was no coming back after that, with Lithuania keeping its distance until the end.

Vucevic shared the game-high 19 points in the losing effort. Simonovic and Kendrick Perry finished the game with 13 points each.