In the two other quarter-finals it was all European with Germany facing Lithuania and Serbia being the opponent of Poland.
Lithuania – Germany
It was Besnik Bekteshi who opened the game with a three pointer that was immediately answered by a three from Rokas Narkevicius. But Bekteshi was hot early with two additional threes to increase the lead to 9-5 for Germany. But Lithuania used the offensive errors of the German team to come back and force Frank Menz to take a first Time-out as the Baltic team was up 13-9 after 4 minutes. With the entry of Julius Wolf, the Germans started to play tougher and came back on a 24s buzzer by the Urspring forward. But a stupid turnover in the last seconds gave Lithuania the opportunity to be up 21-18 after the first quarter.
Both teams started very nervous in the second quarter but it were the Lithuanians that increased their lead a bit. But Germany changed to zone defense and reduced the deficit point by point with Wolf dominating the defensive rebound (9 boards at half). Bogdan Radosavljevic started to have some impact on the offensive end and it was him who scored the basket to give Germany the lead back. Both teams continued to struggle on the offensive end and Malik Müller missed the shot on the buzzer. The hosts were up 33-30 at the halftime.
Radosavljevic started strong into the 3rd Quarter with a score after a blocked dunk attempt and a big time rejection and steal on the other side. But Jakob Krumbeck continued to struggle with yet another turnover. Lithuania was forced to take a first time-out already after three minutes as Germany increased their lead to 37-32. Tomas Lekunas scored the important three point shot for Lithuania after Germany was unable to score over several offenses. The teams remained nervous and continued to miss their free-throws and open layups or turned the ball over. Lithuania used this situation to equal the game and go ahead 47-42 on a nice play finished by Simonas Kymantas. Germany had a timeout but their offense seemed to panic with a couple of more turnovers. 50-42 Lithuania before the last ten minutes.
The last quarter started with a German turnover and Martynas Paliukenas scored the layup on the break to increase the lead for the first time to 10 points. Germany changed to a 3-2 zone on defense but Lekunas answered with a three pointer to increase the lead to 13. The German team forced the 1-1 situations and Lekunas scored another three that forced Menz to take the time-out at 59-43 with 8 minutes to go. 6 quick points by Wolf and Radosavljevic brought Germany back into the game and now it was Darius Dikcius who was forced to call the timeout. Narkevicius finished the Lithuanian draught with another three and Bekteshi lost a crucial possession by not controlling a pass. Semaska scored the layup and the foul and the lead was again big for the Baltic team. The PG hit then the huge three that seemed like the decision but Bekteshi answered with a three and the foul to bring Germany back to 70-58 with 3 minutes remaining. But unable to score their next shots, the game was over for Germany and Lithuania advanced to the semi-finals with a 73-61 win. The Lithuanian fans cheered this victory with “Aciu-Aciu” chants.
MVP: Simonas Kymantas 12pts 12rebs 2blks
Poland – Serbia
Poland started the game by trying to use their inside match-up with Przemylaw Karnowski versus Nemanja Bezbradica who looks rather short and thin against the big Polish center. A quick second foul for Piotr Niedzwiedzki forced Poland though to change their starting lineup after only 2 and half minutes but Tomasz Gielo immediately scored with the foul. Bezbradica answered with a long 2 pointer.But Mateusz Ponitka took the game in his hands and scored 5 points in a row for the first break in the game at 14-8 for Poland. The teams traded baskets where Poland had some nice steals on the press but they could not increase their lead. 23-17 after the first 10 minutes.
Nenad Miljenovic was not yet in the game as he had some difficult drives but could not finish them while Michal Michalak scored 6 points in a row to increase the Polish lead to 30-17. Poland increased their lead even to 38-22 with excellent fast break plays that were the result of their aggressive team defense. This team really made a step forward compared to Lithuania last summer and looks to be the only serious competiton to the United States. Gielo continued to score and Bezbradica came with a frustration foul after yet another miss and was sent to the bench immediately by his coach. Miljenovic tried a lot on one-on-one situations but Poland went to halftime with a 23 point lead: 53-30.
Serbia came out better from the break and scored 4 points in a row but Ponitka stopped their run with a three from the corner. Poland continued to execute at perfection on both ends of the floor to increase the lead even to 26. Karnowski started to play the assists in the post and the lead grows and grows so that this game looked a bit like the Team USA game versus Australia. Miljenovic stepped of the court during the 3rd quarter with a little problem on his knee, he probably did not want to get humiliated anymore as Poland was up 78-47 at the end of the quarter.
There was not much to say about the last quarter excpet that Poland continued to dominate the game and that Miljenovic came back and tried to improve his stats a bit. Poland gave some minutes to the bench players as the lead was still around 30 points. Dawid Kolakowski scored two FTs to seal the deal for an impressive 100-70 win for Poland over Serbia.
MVP: Tomasz Gielo 24pts (7/11 2FGs – 1/2 3FGs) 7rebs 2asts 2blks