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2023 FIBA World Cup

Zagars dishes FIBA WC-record 17 assists as Latvia romps Lithuania for fifth


After making an impression on NBA players, Artus Zagars has now etched his name into the FIBA Basketball World Cup record books.

Zagars shone the brightest on Saturday night, setting a new record with 17 assists, the highest recorded by any player in a FIBA World Cup game in the last 30 years, to propel Latvia to a fifth-place finish, defeating Lithuania 98-63 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The 23-year-old guard also achieved a historic feat by becoming the first player in FIBA World Cup history to record more than 12 assists without committing a single turnover in a match.FIBA-WC-LAT-vs.-LTU-Arturs-Zagars-7691 Zagars dishes FIBA WC-record 17 assists as Latvia romps Lithuania for fifth 2023 FIBA World Cup Basketball News  - philippine sports news

With Zagars orchestrating the offense, Latvia dominated the third quarter, outscoring Lithuania 28-9 and securing a commanding 30-point lead, 77-47, as they headed into the fourth.

Latvia maintained their lead from there, extending it to as much as 38 points, 98-60, thanks to Roland Smits’ three-pointer with 57 seconds remaining in the game.

“I’m very grateful because I’m leading a program with special people. Also, tonight proved how much they trust each other, how serious they are,” said Latvia head coach Luca Banchi.

“You know, I had good vibes during the entire journey. I would say from the very beginning of my arrival in Latvia, starting from the pre-qualifications, trying to make them conscious of the potential of this program, and those guys, little by little, worked to achieve it,” he added.

Arturs Kurucs led the Latvians in scoring with 20 points, making six three-pointers, and also contributed four rebounds and two assists. Smits added 17 points and six boards to solidify Latvia’s rise in the world rankings.

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Andrejs Grazulis contributed 12 points, while Rodion Kurucs posted 11 points, six rebounds, and four boards.FIBA-WC-LAT-vs.-LTU-Jonas-Valaciunas-7914 Zagars dishes FIBA WC-record 17 assists as Latvia romps Lithuania for fifth 2023 FIBA World Cup Basketball News  - philippine sports news

On the other hand, Rokas Jokubaitis led Lithuania with 16 points, and Jonas Valanciunas contributed 15 points and eight rebounds.

Despite the loss, Lithuania improved upon their ninth-place finish in 2019 by securing a sixth-place finish in the tournament.

The Scores:

Latvia 98 Kurucs A. 20, Smits 17, Grazulis 12, Kurucs R. 11, Strautins 8, Cavars 8, Zoriks 6, Bertans Dav. 5, Pasecniks 4, Zagars 4, Skele 3.

Lithuania 63 – Jokubaitis 16, Valanciunas 15, Dimsa 13, Sirvydis 6, Brazdeikis 5, Motiejunas 4, Normantas 2, Sedekerskis 2, Kuzminskas 0, Maldunas 0.

Quarterscores: 28-20; 49-38; 77-47; 98-63FIBA-WC-LAT-vs.-LTU-7898 Zagars dishes FIBA WC-record 17 assists as Latvia romps Lithuania for fifth 2023 FIBA World Cup Basketball News  - philippine sports news

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