Valanciunas leads host to a EuroBasket feat
By RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency
|Nenad Krstic of Serbia (R) is fouled by Jonas Valanciunas of Lithuania during their FIBA EuroBasket 2011 Group E basketball game in Vilnius September 7, 2011. (REUTERS/Ints Kalnins)
Jonas Valanciunas is making it awfully tough for Lithuania to keep his minutes down.
The Raptors draft pick — used sparingly at times during the EuroBasket tournament — had his strongest outing yet on Wednesday.
Valanciunas helped host Lithuania become the first team at the tournament to score 100 points with a 100-90 win over Serbia.
Valanciunas had 18 points (on 8-of-9 shooting), five rebounds and a block in just 20 minutes, as Lithuania, 2-1, got 47 points from its bench.
Lithuania rallied from a seven-point deficit in the fourth.
Valanciunas, one of the youngest players competing, is now shooting 75% from the field and averaging 9.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, a block and a steal in 17 minutes per game.
In the rest of the Group E action:
France improved to a group-best 3-0 by beating Turkey 68-64.
Turkey gave France all it could handle before making some costly errors down the stretch, including a five second inbounding violation.
San Antonio star Tony Parker, the top player at the tourney so far, made seven free throws in the final 18 seconds to seal the win.
Elsewhere, 2-1 Spain outclassed Germany 77-68 thanks to 19 points in the second half from Pau Gasol and 24 throughout the game from his brother Marc.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 19 for Germany, but was not a factor in the decisive fourth quarter.
Germany (0-3) and Turkey (1-2) are in tough, along with Serbia (1-2).
Four teams advance from each group. The weaker Group F plays three games on Thursday.