LithuaJonas Maciulis has rescued Lithuania from an imminent elimination in Sunday’s final game of the EuroBasket 2015 Round of 16 against Georgia in Lille, France.

Lithuania bounced back from a nine-point deficit to hold on to an 85-81 victory over Georgia, and the Real Madrid small forward was an all-round performer when Lithuania needed him most.

As a result Lithuania booked a place in the tournament Quarter-Finals for the third time in a row.

As Toronto Raptors centre Jonas Valanciunas got in foul trouble early in the contest, Maciulis took over doing a bit of everything for Lithuania.

The 6-foot-7 not only played terrific defense, but he also led the Eastern Europeans with a game-high 34 points, while Dallas Mavericks new signing Zaza Pachulia, who outplayed Valanciunas, led Georgia with 23 points and 7 rebounds.

Georgia led most of the contest, but Maciulis and the rest of his crew were not prepared to go home early as they improved their tournament record to 5-1.

For Georgia the defeat means the end of the road in the EuroBasket 2015.

Eventually, Lithuania’s head coach Jonas Kazlauskas paid tribute to his player: “Maciulis was great all the time he was on the court. Great on both defence and offence. Today, for sure he was our best player. I hope that in the next game we will find somebody else. We need more players to help,” the veteran tactician said.

Lithuania advance to the Quarter-Finals where they will take on Italy, who sealed a comprehensive 82-52 victory over Israel early on Sunday.

Alessandro Gentile poured in a game-high 27 points as Italy reach the least eight of the competition for the second consecutive time.

In the first game Sunday’s action, the Czech Republic made history by trouncing Croatia 80-59, and reach the Quarter-Finals for the very first time as an independent country.

Czech Republic head coach Ronen Ginzburg later said: “To beat Croatia, to beat them the way we did, it’s great for Czech basketball. It’s great for us.

“The heart of the players, the commitment of the players, that was the difference today. It’s a celebration day for basketball.”

In Wednesday’s Quarter-Finals action, Czech Republic will square off Serbia, who defeated Finland 80-59 to advance to the last eight for the fourth time in a row.

EuroBasket 2015 quarterfinals games:

Tuesday, 15 September 2015:
Spain (4-2) v Greece (6-0)
France (6-0) v Latvia (4-2)

Wednesday, 16 September 2015:
Serbia (6-0) v Czech Republic (4-2)
Italy (4-2) v Lithuania (5-1)


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