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Lithuania, Ukraine win at Euro champs

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) - Pooh Jeter carried Ukraine to an 82-75 victory over Serbia on Friday and revived his team's hopes of making the quarterfinals of the European basketball championships.

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The former Sacramento Kings guard scored 20 points and made several key baskets for Ukraine, which recovered from a 34-point loss to Latvia.

``The team effort was what won the game for us,'' said Jeter, who is the brother of U.S. sprinter Carmelita Jeter. ``Latvia really punched us and caught us off-balance. But going against a powerhouse like Serbia, we knew that we could win it.

In the late match, France cruised past Latvia 102-91 behind 23 points from the Spurs' Tony Parker.

Alexis Ajinca had a team-high 25 points for France, which led by as many as 22 before Latvia came within nine in the fourth quarter. Parker helped extend the lead, and Nicolas Batum finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

``We controlled the game, but they never gave up,'' Ajinca said.

Dairis Bertans led all scorers by getting 28 for Latvia.

``We trailed by 20 at halftime and against a team such as France, it's hard to come back from such a margin,'' Latvia guard Janis Blums said.

Serbia plays France and Ukraine meets Lithuania in their final second-round games.

For Ukraine, Jeter hit a 3-pointer to end the third quarter and give his team a nine-point lead.

With Serbia trying to close the gap, Jeter sank two consecutive 3-pointers, made a jumper and stole the ball before making one of two free throws. That left Ukraine up by eight with 1:05 left. Although Nemanja Bjelica made a 3, Ukraine held on to win.

``We knew that if we wanted to win we had to play our best game at both ends of the court,'' Ukraine coach Mike Fratello said. ``Today we had the energy and the effort and we came back from the embarrassment against Latvia.''

Earlier, Lithuania moved closer to a spot in the quarterfinals with an 86-67 win over Belgium.

Jonas Valanciunas, who plays for the Toronto Raptors, scored 12 points and had 10 rebounds to lead Lithuania, which improved to 3-1 in the second round.

``We used our big guys real well and that was the key,'' said Lithuania forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas, who added 12 points and eight rebounds.

Jonathan Tabu led Belgium with 15 points.

Lithuania scored 40 points in the paint to 22 for Belgium, which fell to 0-4 but still has a chance to advance if it beats Latvia by a large margin in its final game.

``We missed some open shots at the beginning, but we knew the scoring would come,'' Lithuania coach Jonas Kazlauskas said.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
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