Though the result isn't surprising, the way it happened surely was. The Koreans were huge underdogs heading into this contest, with all of their players only playing domestically, and a fast-paced style that left them vulnerable in the paint. But, somehow, they managed to hold a significant lead until the third quarter, and even managed to re-take the lead in the fourth. The Dominicans looked extremely sluggish out of the gate, firing up tons of jumpshots and succumbing to Korea's pressure.
But mid-way through the third, they had a Eureka moment and used their size inside to just overpower the Koreans. Korea was constantly in foul trouble, and they couldn't grab a rebound to save their life. Korea did all it could to stay with the Dominicans in the later stages of the fourth, but late in the game the Dominicans intentionally missed two free throws in order to rebound the ball and score. Suddenly, after one possession, a 2 point lead was an 8 point one, and Korea was too far behind. Korea is now eliminated from the tournament, with the top seed in Group C to be decided between the Dominican Republic and Russia tomorrow.
This game perfectly illustrates the gap between middling teams and elite teams in this tournament. Venezuela has enough talent to power ahead of a disorganized Nigerian team and most South American nations, but they're an echelon below Lithuania. They were systematically destroyed by one of the tournament's most well-orchestrated offenses, only surfacing briefly in the first half with some epic three point shots. But, in essence, Lithuania beat Venezuela at its' own game. They ran the floor and displayed some fantastic offense. With the win, Lithuania will now face Nigeria in a challenge for the Group B lead. If Lithuania loses, the group standings will be decided by point differential, in which case Nigeria would most likely advance.
Both of these games were total blowouts, with the superior team jumping out to a large lead in the first quarter and cruising to victory. New Zealand did get within 11 of Macedonia in the third, but Macedonia quickly re-took their advantage. With the loss, Jordan is now eliminated, and Puerto Rico will face Greece for the Group A top seed. New Zealand isn't eliminated, but they will have to beat Angola by a large sum tomorrow if they hope to advance.
Below: Today's Games!
Today's Schedule (All Games Streamed on FIBATV.com):
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