The United States is gearing up for the Paris Olympics next summer, but their Sunday night encounter with Lithuania in the Basketball World Cup left fans in shock. Lithuania managed to pull off a stunning victory, beating the U.S. with a score of 110-104 in a second-round game.
Vaidas Kariniauskas was the star of the night, contributing 15 points, while Mindaugas Kuzmina’s added 14 to Lithuania’s impressive performance. This loss marked the first for the U.S. in 10 games during the summer, including five exhibition matches leading up to the World Cup.
Interestingly, the Americans managed to secure their spot in the Paris Games officially on the same night, despite the defeat.
Fortunately for the U.S., this loss may not have a significant impact on their pursuit of a medal in the World Cup. They have a chance to redeem themselves in the quarterfinals scheduled for Tuesday, and if they continue to win on Tuesday, Thursday, and next Sunday, they could still emerge as gold medalists.
Nevertheless, this unexpected defeat was a shocker, especially for a U.S. team that was widely considered the favorite to win the gold. Anthony Edwards led the U.S. with an impressive 35 points, his highest score of the summer, while Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges each contributed 14 points.
Lithuania, with a perfect record of 5-0, continued to be a thorn in the side of USA Basketball. This nation, known for its passionate basketball culture and tie-dyed T-shirts worn by some fans at the game, sent a clear message to the Americans and all other contenders in the World Cup. You may also check Thrilling Arsenal Comeback.
Historically, Lithuania has given the U.S. a run for their money on numerous occasions. This includes a narrow nine-point loss at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, a thrilling two-point victory in the semifinals, and other close encounters. Lithuania even managed to defeat the U.S.
at the 1998 world championships and in the early rounds of the 2004 Athens Olympics. In the 2012 London Olympics, they pushed the U.S. to their limits, with the American team briefly trailing in the fourth quarter. You should also read Watch Central Michigan vs. Michigan State LIVE.
Despite the game’s limited impact on medal hopes, as both teams had already secured spots in the quarterfinals, it was an exciting matchup with much to discuss. Lithuania’s impressive start, making their first nine 3-point attempts and establishing a 21-point lead, was a notable highlight.
The U.S. secured their Olympic berth during the third quarter when Serbia defeated the Dominican Republic, guaranteeing the Americans a spot in Paris.
Just as Serbia closed out their win, the U.S. rallied, mounting a remarkable comeback in less than half of the third quarter, cutting a 17-point halftime deficit to just four points. Lithuania maintained their lead, ultimately securing the victory with a final score of 110-104.