Lithuania defeats Argentina to move to 3-0 in Group B

Lithuania defeats Argentina to move to 3-0 in Group B

Marius Grigonis

Argentina proved not all that is gold glitters as their Golden Generation could not pull out a victory against Lithuania in a wild game at the Rio Olympics.

Lithuania stayed undefeated with the 81-73 victory, gaining sole possession of second place in the process as Argentina lost for the first time in Rio and fell to third place in Group B.

Mindaugas Kuzminskas had a huge performance coming off the bench for Lithuania, scoring a game-high 23 points, including nine in the third quarter. Mantas Kalnietis stuff the stat sheet, tallying 17 points, five rebounds, seven assists and a steal.

The four remaining members of Argentina’s Golden Generation, Manu Ginobili, Andres Nocioni, Luis Scola and Carlos Delfino, each scored in double digits. Ginobili scored a team-high 22 points, while Luis Scola added 12 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals, but fouled out in the final minute of the game.

A raucous crowd spurred on an Argentine run in the fourth, making for a tense atmosphere as Lithuania tried to hold on to their lead in the final minutes. Missed free throws stymied the comeback though, as Argentina missed seven attempts from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter. They shot 57 percent from the line in the game, including seven missed free throws by the normally reliable Ginobili.

While the loss was disappointing for the Argentinians, it could prove beneficial come the knockout round. The second place team in Group B will be placed into the same side of the bracket as the United States, meaning they would have to face the Americans on the route to the gold medal game. The third place team, where Argentina currently sits, would be placed in the opposite side of the bracket, setting up a potential showdown with the U.S. in the Gold Medal Game.

The quarterfinals still remain two games away though, as both teams will suit up for their penultimate game in the group phase on Saturday. Argentina will face the host country Brazil and Lithuania will take on a Spanish team that won its first game of the Olympics earlier in the day.

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