Turning Point: With the contest knotted at 75-75 with less than two minutes to go, Lithania shut down Germany the remainder of the way.
Game Hero: Lithuania's Sarunas Jasikevicius had 11 of his 17 points in the final quarter and finished with five of six (83%) from the floor. He also hauled down four rebounds, dished out four assists and came up with one steal.
Stats Don't Lie: Germany's Dirk Nowitzki was held to just seven points in the first half and finished with 16 on four of 17 (24%) shooting. Lithuania out-rebounded Germany 40-29.
|Rimantas Kaukenas (left), celebrating here the big victory with Mantas Kalnietis, led all Lithuania scorers with 19 points on 61.5% shooting from the floor|
Lithuania turned back Germany with the help of their loud fans in the Vilnius Arena on Sunday night to march into the EuroBasket Quarter-Finals.
Taking on Dirk Nowitzki and a dominant Chris Kaman, the host nation got 19 points from Rimantas Kaukenas and a one-two punch from Sarunas Jasikevicius and Jonas Valanciunas en route to an 84-75 win.
Victory assured Lithuania of third place in Group E behind Spain and France and left Serbia in fourth.
Lithuania didn't turn on all cylinders, hitting only three of nine shots from long range, with Kaman (25pts, 11rbs) proving a menace, but they grinded out a win.
And they also twice got alley-oop dunks from 19-year-old Valanciunas after passes from 35-year-old Jasikevicius, showing their partnership is continuing to blossom.
"I'm proud of my team," Lithuania coach Kestutis Kemzura said.
"They handled the pressure and this game was live or die for us.
"We knew the German team is tough and a team with character. They have great players but we showed team spirit, team character and we stayed with our game plan.
"We did an excellent job on Dirk Nowitzki, we wore him down. Rebounds were important for us and coming up with steals."
Lithuania out-rebounded Germany 40-29 and had six steals.
They scored 15 points of 12 German turnovers.
The home side's strategy was to have Darius Songaila and Paulius Jankunas make life miserable for Nowitzki.
The two players accumulated a total of seven fouls and Nowitzki never got into the sort of rhythm that would allow him to take over a game.
He went into the game averaging more than 20 points per game but ended up with 16, making just four of 17 shots from the floor and seven of eight free-throws.
Needing to beat Lithuania by 11 points to advance, Germany never quit and even went in front early in the third quarter and also twice in the fourth.
But each time, the Lithuanians had an answer.
After a Kaman three-point play put Germany on top 41-39 two minutes into the third quarter, Mantas Kalnietis raced to the other end and scored on a drive to spark a 9-0 run for the home team.
Then when a Kaman score put Germany in front 64-63 with 5:25 to go in the game, Jasikevicius went to the other end and hit a free-throw line jumper.
Heiko Schaffartzik knotted the contest at 67-67 with a three-ball but Valanciunas tapped in his own missed shot and scored and then Jasikevicius followed with a jumper.
Philipp Schwethelm, the hero of Germany's win over Turkey, buried a three-pointer to tie the contest one last time at 75-75 with 1:49 to play, but that was the last time Dirk Bauermann's team scored.
Jasikevicius, the EuroBasket 2003 MVP when Lithuania won gold in Sweden, killed off their slim hopes with a three-point play with 1:35 to play.
"This is a very hard loss but congratulations to Lithuania," Germany coach Bauermann said.
"I thought when we had a one-point lead in the fourth quarter, they stayed calm, they turned it up on the defensive end and scored big baskets.
"We have to give them credit. No team was as committed to take the ball out of Chris and Dirk's hands as they were and that hurt us.
"We told him to get quicker and they did but their defense was too good."
Robin Benzing scored 18 points on seven-of-seven shooting for Germany, including makes on both of his attempts from long range.
Schaffartzik had 13 points.