Jonas Valančiūnas has guided Lithuania to a 75:62 victory over African powerhouse Angola to cement his nation’s position on top of Group D at the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
Jonas Valančiūnas
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

The 22-year-old who has already won multiple “Lithuanian player of the year” titles was the standout on the night, becoming the first Lithuanian of the tournament to claim a double-double with 11 points and a remarkable 13 rebounds.

“We are going through a generational change: our key players are Jonas Valančiūnas and Donatas Motiejūnas,” coach Jonas Kazlauskas stated post-match.

The Africans qualified for the tournament after defeating Egypt 57:40 in the 2013 AfroBasket final and would commence their 2014 campaign with dominance; taking apart South Korea 80:69.

Thankfully for Lithuania’s fans, Donatas Motiejūnas would make up for his side’s slow start against Mexico and score an impressive three point shot in the opening seconds.

Free throw line accuracy from Mílton Barros would see Angola take out a 6-point lead; forcing Paulius Jankūnas to fight back and recapture his side’s dominance with a score of 38:33 before the main break.

“The opponents are also watching you and trying to expose your weaknesses throughout the tournament,” said Kazlauskas.

“So when it comes to the main break, you can arrange something, to control the players.”

Jonas Mačiulis’ scored back to back three point shots in the space of 40 seconds in the third term while the rebounding skills of NBA star Valančiūnas would be enough for Lithuania to take out the points.

Fittingly, Jankūnas would land the final two foul shots of the game.

The Žalgiris star was appointed as Lithuania’s captain late last month following the omission of Mantas Kalnietis due to a collar-bone injury suffered in the exhibition game against Croatia.

On a sour note, Simas Jasaitis would not score a point throughout his twenty minutes on the court.

Lithuania currently sits second after Slovenia demolished Mexico.

The Baltic nation will now face off against Australia on Tuesday night, a rematch of both the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Bronze medal games.

Lithuania’s Stats:

Most points:

Donatas Motiejūnas (12), Jonas Valančiūnas (11), Paulius Jankūnas (9), Martynas Pocius (9), Adas Juškevičius (9).

Most rebounds:

Jonas Valančiūnas (13), Donatas Motiejūnas (5).

Most assists:

Renaldas Seibutis (4), Jonas Valančiūnas (3), Paulius Jankūnas (3), Martynas Pocius (3).

Team Comparisons:

Biggest lead:

Lithuania 14
Angola 6

3 points FG:

Lithuania 58.6%
Angola 42.1%

2 points FG:

Lithuania 35.0%
Angola 28.0%

Free Throws:

Lithuania 71.4%
Angola 75.0%

Blocks:

Lithuania 2
Angola 0

Turnovers:

Lithuania 16
Angola 14

Steals:

Lithuania 2
Angola 11

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