Italy beats Turkey in OT; Lithuania contains Parker, remains unbeaten

Updated: September 12, 2007, 1:44 AM ET
Associated Press

MADRID, Spain -- Lithuania limited Tony Parker to 11 points and defeated three-time champion France 88-73 on Monday to remain one of two unbeaten teams at the European Basketball Championship.

Sarunas Jasikevicius had 14 points and seven assists and set up Ramunas Siskauskas and Darius Songaila for key baskets.

"They were stronger than us, that's it," said Parker, who was held 14 points below his tournament average.

Also in Group F, Marco Belinelli scored six of his 17 points in overtime to help Italy eliminate Turkey 84-75.

Toronto Raptors center Andrea Bargnani had five of his 12 points in the extra period, as Italy overcame an early 15-point deficit.

"All of the game the team was waiting for Bargnani, and in overtime he showed he knows how to score and Turkey froze," Italy coach Carlo Recalcati said.

Turkey was led by 34 points from Hedo Turkoglu.

Like Lithuania, Slovenia is 5-0 after routing Germany 77-47 -- a result that qualified France for the quarterfinals.

Lithuania plays Slovenia on Wednesday for the top spot in Group F. France, which already defeated Germany, plays last-place Turkey in its final game. The winner between Italy and Germany will clinch the group's final quarterfinals berth.

Jasikevicius hit a key 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to push Lithuania's lead back to double digits when France threatened.

With Lithuania denying the ball to Parker, the French looked lost. They forced passes and often were left with poor opportunities as the shot clock expired -- particularly in the final two minutes.

"They played us very well and very aggressive. They pressed Parker well and stopped him from finding his spots," France coach Claude Bergeaud said. "We were not ready to play tonight. We couldn't get into our offense like we did against Germany."

Though Parker played 30 minutes, the San Antonio Spurs star said he never felt comfortable.

"I wanted to shoot more often, believe me, the problem was trying to get them off," he said. "They didn't give me many looks."

In the first half, Lithuania went on a 24-4 run to open up a 20-point lead. France answered with an 8-0 spurt to start the third quarter, with Florent Pietrus scoring five straight points.

France soon closed within five, but Jasikevicius set up Simas Jasaitis for a three-point play then found Siskauskas in the lane, as Lithuania stretched its lead to 68-56 late in the third.

"You see how difficult it is to win here -- I just hope at the right time we can come through with our form and win," Jasikevicius said. "Whoever makes it to the quarters can beat anyone."

Belinelli made two free throws to put Italy ahead 76-75 in overtime before Bargnani's 3-pointer stretched the lead to four. Bargnani later made two free throws with 1:09 left.

With the score tied 68-68 with 20 seconds remaining in regulation, Turkoglu made two free throws. Massimo Bulleri then evened the score with two more free throws, and Ibrahim Kutluay's last-second 3-point attempt was short.

"We lacked execution. We lacked the big moment, especially when it came to hitting the 3-pointer," Turkey coach Bogdan Tanjevic said.

Only two German players scored in the first quarter as Slovenia took control, 30-9. Dirk Nowitzki, the reigning NBA MVP, finished with a tournament-low 16 points.

A two-handed dunk from 6-foot-2 guard Goran Dragic, playing with a transparent face mask to protect a broken nose, punctuated Slovenia's dominance with 7:24 to play. By then, his team held an untouchable 69-37 lead.

Forward Matjaz Smodis led Slovenia with 22 points.

On Tuesday, defending champion Greece can claim one of the two remaining quarterfinal places from Group E with a win over Portugal. Croatia can do the same by beating Russia, while Israel plays Spain.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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