Alex Tigani | The Lithuania Tribune
The Lithuanian national men’s basketball team commenced its 2013 EuroBasket campaign this week by recording two consecutive friendly match victories over Belgium.
The first match would see the home nation conquer the visitors taking out every quarter in Kėdainiai despite the late omissions of superstars Mantas Kalnietis, Linas Kleiza and Jonas Valančiūnas.
Donatas Motiejūnas poured 19 points and collected five rebounds in his side’s 86:61 win while 2011 EuroBasket candidate Mindaugas Kuzminskas and veteran Kšyštof Lavrinovičius both scored 10+ points and 5 rebounds each.
Lavrinovičius showed accuracy in the motion, scoring 100 per cent of his field goals before celebrating the victory with his twin brother, Darjuš, who scored eight points that night.
The 20 year-old Vytenis Čižauskas also brought the Kėdainiai crowd to its feet, sinking his first three point shot at senior International level to finish the game with five points and four rebounds.
The second match was played at the Kaunas Sporting Hall and though the Belgium side did win the final quarter convincingly, Lithuania still managed to conquer its competitor 66:53.
Despite starting on the bench Valančiūnas received 21 minutes of game time, allowing him to score 12 points and 11 rebounds (10 defensive).
Valančiūnas, who has won last two ‘Lithuanian Basketball Player of the Year’ awards, was also joined by Kalnietis and Kleiza on the returning end scoring five and three points respectively.
However, the final match ended on a sour note as the Lithuanian Basketball Federation received much criticism from those in attendance due to the condition of the venue with the newly built Žalgiris Arena available that night across the road.
The Kaunas Sporting Hall’s Director Kęstutis Baranauskas issued the following statement post-match:
Please be informed that due to ventilation and air conditioning systems a technical glitch caused a computer system management error, therefore we could not ensure good conditions for the Lithuania v. Belgium friendly basketball game.
Both the software bugs and the system failure have now been identified and removed before the next event.
We ensure that all measures will be taken in the future that it does not happen again.
We invite everyone to come to the Stepas Butautis international basketball tournament, which will take place August 30-31.
Thank you all for your understanding and we hope that this incident will not damage your warm relationships with the Kaunas Hall.
The Lithuanian national team will continue its preparation for the 2013 Men’s EuroBasket tournament playing off against Sweden on 12 August, 2013 in Panevėžys.