It appears that Jeremy Lamb used the first four games of the FIBA U19 World Championship in Riga, Latvia as a warm-up to what happened Tuesday. After a 4-0 start, and facing tournament favorite Lithuania (a team that had beaten the U.S. in an exhibition the week before), Lamb scored a game-high 35 points and helped the United States to a 107-105 overtime win.
The Huskies' rising sophomore was 13-for-23 from the field, including 5 of 7 from behind the arc. Lamb also added four rebounds, two assists and three steals in 37 minutes. The win takes the U.S. to 5-0 in the tournament and guarantees them a No. 1 seed in its group for the medal round quarterfinals.
"I felt we would have to play really well in order to have a chance to win the game. I felt we played well in spurts but Lithuania has continued to impress me, they impressed me with how they came back this afternoon," USA coach Paul Hewitt said in a USA Basketball release. "We're very lucky to win this game and at this point we just talked to our team about trying to get better. We need to continue to improve as we move through the tournament and we've got to try and play better tomorrow against Croatia."
It's hard to believe the game even went to overtime; the U.S. led 94-86 with 37 seconds to go in regulation. And then things got weird:
Lithuania's Edgaras Ulanovas scored and was fouled with 29.7 second to go. His free throw was off target, but Doyydas Redikas tipped in the miss to cut it to 94-90. Jonas Valanciunas added another basket to trim the lead to two.
Patric Young of Florida grabbed an offensive rebound with 7.3 seconds left in regulation and was fouled. He missed both attempts, and Lithuania's Arnas Butkrvicius drove to the basket and was credited with two points on a goaltending call. The Americans couldn't get a shot off before the buzzer.
Valanciunas, the No. 5 pick by the Toronto Raptors in last month's NBA draft, started overtime with a basket. Butkrvicius then scored to give Lithuania a 98-94 lead with 3:35 left.
Young rallied the Americans, hitting two free throws and turning in a three-point play to get the United States within one. Young completed another three-point play with 1:07 left to give his team a 105-103 lead.
According to USA Basketball, Lamb's 35 points is the second highest single-game point production for a USA U19 or Junior World Championship team member since the event was staged in 1979.
The U.S. faces Croatia Wednesday in the second round.