Injury-riddled Nevezis snap Siauliai's run

Photo: Gintaras ŠIUPARYS ("Lietuvos rytas")

KEDAINIAI – Despite being riddled by injuries, Nevezis handed the first loss of the season to Siauliai, outlasting the visitors 91-85 in a close game between two of the Group B front-runners on Tuesday evening.


The Kedainiai club bounced back from the loss to the last season’s champions Ventspils in the previous game to improve to a 4-1 record, while Siauliai suffered the first defeat after winning the first three games.

The visitors got off to a storming start and led throughout the first quarter after taking an early 8-0 lead behind a pair of three-pointers by Derek Needham and Vytas Sulskis.

Despite playing without Valdas Dabkus, who is out for a couple of weeks with an ankle injury, Nevezis bounced back in the second period, cutting the eight-point deficit they had to tie it at 42-42 at the half.

Siauliai had restored the advantage in the third quarter and led by as many as 10 points after another three-pointer by Derek Needham, who made it 66-56.

The visitors’ lead did not last long, as Nevezis replied with an 11-0 run and jumped back ahead by a single point at the start of the final period, following Vidas Ginevicius’ long-range shot.

Ginevicius added another pair of triples to make it 78-75, but every single time Siauliai’s point guard Derek Needham, who was almost unstoppable, had a response.

With just over a minute left and the score tied at 82-82, Simas Buterlevicius hit a very important three-pointer with the shot clock running down to go give Nevezis a slight lead heading into the final 60 seconds of the game.

Although Justin Dillard had cut the deficit to a 84-85, Tyrone Brazelton converted a lay-up on the other end and then adding a pair of free-throws after a successful defensive possession to put Nevezis out of reach.

Vilmantas Dilys led the winners with 24 points, Tyrone Brazelton was one assist shy from a double-double, finishing the game with 19 points and nine dimes, while Simas Buterlevicius added 16 points and nine rebounds.

The American duo of Derek Needham and Justin Dillard had a great game, but lacked contribution from other players. Needham collected 28 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists, while Dillard had 23 points, seven boards and four assists.