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Lithuania Beat Puerto Rico in Opening Game

Bench center Povilas Cukinas scored a team-high of 15 points with 7 rebounds to lead Lithuania to an 82-73 triumph over Puerto Rico in the opening game of the Stankovic Continental Champions Cup at the Capital Stadium in Beijing on Tuesday.

European champion Lithuania opened the scoring 4 minutes after jump ball. The absence of Carlos Arroyo, Detroit Pistons guard, made Puerto Rico reluctant to control the game pace. But they bounced back soon under the leadership of guard Rick Apodaca to lead the score 18-17 by the end of the first quarter.

The Puerto Ricans maintained their lead in the second quarter thanks to a 6-0 burst and the fast breaks from Bobby Joe Hatton and Rick Apodaca. They led 38-36 before the long break.

The Lithuanians successfully used their 3-2 zone defense to restrict the scoring avenues of the Puerto Rican and took an 11-point lead at the end of the third quarter (65 to 54).

In the decisive last quarter, the Puerto Ricans played more of an individual game and failed to close the gap. The Lithuanian dominated the boards to end the game 82-73.

Lithuania's starting lineup:

Mindaugas Lukauskis, Giedrius Gustas, Simonas Serapinas, Saulius Kuzminskas, Martynas Andriukaitis

Puerto Rica's starting lineup:

Manuel Narváez, Rick Apodaca, Christian Dalmau, Bobby Joe Hatton, Héctor Valenzuela

(China.org.cn by staff reporter Li Xiao July 26, 2005)

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