Emus finish fourth after overtime heartbreak

Emus finish fourth after overtime heartbreak

The Australian Emus quest for a bronze medal was derailed this morning in heart-breaking fashion, going down in overtime of their 2013 Under 19 FIBA World Championship match against Lithuania, 106-100.

The Emus came agonisingly close to their goal of securing a medal, turning a 17 point deficit in the second term (38-21), into an 8 point lead in the final term (68-60), but it would not be enough against a Lithuanian side that simply finished the stronger.

Australia were led by dominant performances from team-leading scorer Dante Exum, who finished with a game-high 28 points, to go along with 5 rebounds and 5 assists, and Dane Pineau, who finished with 20 points and a massive 17 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.

Felix Kalau Von Hofe (16 points) and Anthony Fisher (14 points) were also strong contributors for the Emus, finishing in double-figure scoring.

It was a similarly even-spread of offense from the victorious Lithuanians with five players finishing in double-digits, led by Tomas Dimsa. Dimsa top-scored with 19 points, while Marius Grigoris added 17 points and Lukas Lekavicius added 16 points.

The Aussies hit a respectable 47 per cent of their field goal attempts for the contest, but unfortunately in such a tight game, only managed to connect on half of their free throw attempts, making just 11 of 22 from the charity stripe.

The first quarter was a close contest, the Aussies trailing 21-18 at the first break, but Lithuania used a 15-3 run early in the second term to open up a 17-point lead. The Aussies responded with a 9-0 run of their own to help reduce the margin to 42-34 at halftime.

Sparked by 12 points from Dante Exum, Australia outscored Lithuania 28-14 in the third term, turning an eight point halftime deficit into a six point lead, 62-56, heading into the fourth.

With the Emus ahead 68-60 early in the final term, Lithuania caught fire from beyond the three-point arc, hitting four from long-range in a two-minute period, punctuated by Tomas Dimsa’s four-point-play, arresting the lead back for Lithuania 73-72.

The final minutes of regulation became a tense free-throw shoot-out, leading to Exum making 1 of 2 from the line with nine seconds remaining, to give the Aussies an 85-84 lead. But Lithuania responded immediately with Simas Raupys levelling scores making 1 of 2 from the free-throw line, taking the game to overtime locked at 85 apiece.

The five-minute overtime period was a high-scoring affair, and despite the Emus battling to the end, Lithuania outscored Australia 21-15 to claim the bronze medal with a 106-100 victory.

Dante Exum finished the tournament averaging 18.2 points across the nine matches (good enough for sixth overall), while Dane Pineau’s 9 rebounds per game ranked him seventh among all teams.

Following the game Exum was named among five players on the All-Tournament Team, alongside Serbia’s Vasilje Milic, Croatia’s Dario Saric and USA teammates Jahlil Okafor and Aaron Gordon (MVP).

In the other medal match, the USA claimed gold, defeating Serbia 82-68.

Australian Emus 100 (Exum 28, Pineau 20, Kalau Von Hofe 16) defeated by Lithuania 106 (Dimsa 19, Grigoris 17, Lekavicius 16)

Box Score