Lithuania led by 17 points at halftime and despite a late US resurgence held on to secure the country’s third ever victory over the Americans and inflicting a first group stage defeat on the US since 2002.
Both countries, however, progress to Tuesday’s quarterfinals with Lithuania, as Group J top seeds, next facing Serbia and the US taking on Italy.
Jonas Valančiūnas finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and two blocks, while Anthony Edwards scored a game-high 35 points for the US, tying Carmelo Anthony for the second-most points scored in a US Basketball FIBA game. Kevin Durant holds the record with 38 points during the 2010 tournament.
Lithuania head coach Kazys Maksvytis said his team needed to “save our emotions” for the next game.
“Congratulations to my players, but we need to have short memory to prepare for the second game,” he said, per FIBA.
USA head coach Steve Kerr was critical of his team’s play, saying Lithuania “just punched us in the mouth.”
“We’re fortunate that the loss doesn’t hurt us in terms of our goal, which is to win the gold medal,” Kerr added while speaking to reporters after the game.
“It’s a great game for us to experience because this is FIBA … I hate losing. I probably won’t sleep much tonight. But for us to get better we needed to feel this. We needed to respond the way we did and next game we have to start the way we did in the second half. We can’t ease into the game at all. I’m hoping this is a lesson and we get better from this.”