HAMAMATSU (FIBA World Championship) – Lithuania thrashed Qatar on Tuesday in Group C for their first win at the FIBA World Championship.
Ksystof Lavrinovic had a game-high 20 points – 13 in the first half – and four of his Lithuanian team-mates reached double figures in the demolition.
Lithuania were in dire need of a good result after losing heartbreakers to Turkey and Greece on the opening two days of the competition.
They will now try to defeat Australia and Brazil to assure themselves of reaching the eight-finals.
“We were so close in the first two games and didn’t feel like they had beat us, but that we had beaten ourselves,” said Lithuania star Linas Kleiza, who had 14 points and five rebounds.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys, including myself, so we needed this win to boost our confidence.”
Qatar provided feeble opposition for the Lithuanians, who broke the game open midway through the first quarter.
Leading 12-7, they outscored Qatar 19-4 and killed the game off by the end of the period.
The Qataris, bronze medal winners at the FIBA Asian Championship in 2005, succumbed to the defensive pressure.
By half-time, Joey Stiebing’s side had turned the ball over 16 times and they did not get much better, finishing the contest with 32.
Saad Ali made five three-pointers for Qatar in the second half and finished with 20 points to lead his team.
The highlight of the game was an alley-oop pass in the second half from Arvydas Macijauskas to Mantas Kalnietis, a Zalgiris Kaunas guard who is showing signs that he will have a breakout season.
Kalnietis started at point guard in place of Giedrus Gustas and finished with 10 points, five assists and two steals.
By Jeff Taylor