Updated: September 9, 2010, 6:29 PM ET

Lithuania tops Argentina, reaches semis

Associated Press

ISTANBUL -- Lithuania advanced to the semifinals of the basketball world championship for the first time Thursday, hitting nine of its first 11 3-pointers to beat Argentina 104-85 and set up a meeting with the United States.

Simas Jasaitis scored 16 points for Lithuania, which had seven players in double figures.

"People thought we were an underdog coming in. The reason we're in this spot right now is because of our team chemistry," said Lithuania's Martynus Pocius, a former Duke guard who will be playing against his former coach, Mike Krzyzewski, on Saturday.

Toronto Raptors forward Linas Kleiza added 17 points for Lithuania, while Tomas Delininkaitis and Pocius had 16 each.

Carlos Delfino of the Milwaukee Bucks scored 25 for Argentina, which missed its first 11 3-point attempts.

The defeat means Argentina won't finish in the top four at the worlds, Olympics or FIBA Americas Championship for the first time since 2000.

"This game tonight, there was only one team on the court: Lithuania," Argentina coach Sergio Hernandez said. "They killed Argentina with defense, they ran the floor well and shot well. We could not stop them at any time."

Argentina's Luis Scola entered averaging 30.3 points a game -- the third highest in worlds history -- but turned in a forgettable performance. The Houston Rockets forward missed seven of his first 10 attempts to finish with 13 points.

Lithuania used an 8-0 run to jump ahead 17-10 with precise shooting, tenacious defense and crisp ball movement. It took a 50-30 lead at halftime and built its advantage to 32 points before Argentina cut it to 17 late in the game.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press