Canada coughs up lead to Lithuania at world basketball championship

Linas Kleiza had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Lithuania rallied from a 17-point deficit in the second half to beat Canada 70-68 on Sunday in the opening round of the basketball world championship.

Lithuania 70 Canada 68

IZMIR, Turkey — Linas Kleiza had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Lithuania rallied from a 17-point deficit in the second half to beat Canada 70-68 on Sunday in the opening round of the basketball world championship.

Jermaine Anderson missed a last-second three-pointer for Canada (0-2), which was beaten 81-71 by Lebanon in its opener.

“We continue to learn every time we step on the floor and we are battling many things this tournament,” Canadian head coach Leo Rautins said in a release. “Our expectation for the worlds was to get through the pool, and a lot of things have changed due to injury and health, but we don’t plan on giving up and the players are not going to give up.”

Lithuania (2-0) used a 24-3 run to wipe out the 56-39 deficit with 5:19 to play in the third quarter. Tomas Delininkaitis’ three-pointer from the corner early in the fourth quarter gave Lithuania its first lead, 58-57.

“I don’t think we have to change a lot,” Canadian Aaron Doornekamp said in a release. “We just have to avoid the ups and downs and stay more level. We have to continue to have confidence in our ability and in what we are doing.”

Anderson had 15 points and Joel Anthony of the Miami Heat added 12 for Canada, which opened the big lead by hitting from the outside. Anderson and Andy Rautins hit two of Canada’s four three-pointers in the first quarter to cap a game-opening 15-4 run.

“It was a very difficult and very tough game and not a good day for us with so many missed shot opportunities,” Lithuanian coach Kestutis Kemzura said in a release. “I credit the Canadian team coaching staff and players as they prepared tactically for this match. Canada played well.”

Canada plays its next game against France on Tuesday (9:30 a.m., TSN2).

“France is on a high after beating Spain and Lebanon so they will be very confident,” Doornekamp said. “We will need to continue to play good defence and offence, and put ourselves in a good position to win.”

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