Lithuania reached their first final since winning the 2003 edition after playmaker Mantas Kalnietis (18 points), shooting guard Jonas Maciulis (23) and forward Linas Kleiza (22 points and 11 rebounds) overran a Croatian team lacking the shooting accuracy of their rivals.
After a tight first half the Lithuanians engineered an 18-3 run early in the third quarter to take an unassailable 58-40 lead and set up their ninth win in 10 matches against the Croatians.
“We gave Kleiza and Maciulis too many open shots and we didn’t play defense with enough tenacity,” Croatia’s top-scorer Bojan Bogdanovic (15 points) told HRT television.
Coach Jasmin Repesa added: “We hoped to go all the way but looked very flat today and had no chance of winning with such poor perimeter shooting.”
Croatia nailed only three of 20 three-pointers.
Reported by Reuters
Lithuania are in the EuroBasket final for the fifth time - and first since the 2003 title - knocking off Croatia 77-62 to set up a date with either Spain or France to decide ultimate EuroBasket 2013 glory.
Croatia will fight for their third bronze medal after 1993 and 1995.
Linas Kleiza saved his best for the big time with 22 points, 11 rebounds and two assists to lead the Lithuanians while Jonas Maciulis nailed four three-pointers in scoring 23 points and Mantas Kalnietis added 18 points, three rebounds and four assists.
“It is important for us, for our generation, now that most of the older guys have left the team, our generation has proved that we can play basketball and represent Lithuania too,” said Maciulis, whose 23 points were a tournament-best for him.
“I think we have proved something now and we need to take one more step.”
Reported by EuroBasket2013.org