Juventus' home walls lead series' comeback

UTENA – The Lithuanian derby between Juventus and Pieno Zvaigzdes was truly the cherry on top of this year’s Quarterfinals. While Pasvalys gave them a scare late on, the home side managed to stay calm and took an 85-65 (20-13; 22-21; 18-16; 25-15) win to compensate for the first leg loss.

 

Pasvalys had won the first meeting between these two clubs 76-65, so they were looking at a double-digit advantage even prior to tip-off.

Juventus gave Pasvalys a cold shower with a 9-0 start to the game. While the visitors managed to answer back, soon they faced a double-digit deficit, 20-8. Nevertheless, they returned five points in the final minute and finished the quarter down by 7.

The two teams went back and forth throughout the second quarter but neither team made any significant moves towards the Semifinal.

It seemed that Juventus turned on a higher gear early after the break and soon built a big 18-point lead. Nevertheless, Pieno Zvaigzdes turned up the intensity late in the third quarter and quickly cut the deficit to just ten. Since Pasvalys won the first leg by 11, they were still up by one on the combined scoreboard. A truly nerve-wrecking quarter awaited.

Pasvalys opened the quarter with a wide-open three-pointer and continued their efficient full-court press. However once the home side managed to get past mid-court, a couple of three-point plays allowed Juventus to reestablish a 14-point advantage.

Pieno Zvaigzdes seemed to back to their chaotic game, hoisting up three after three after three, despite not getting anything to fall and Juventus made the most of it. After an unsportsmanlike foul, Juventus already had an 18-point advantage with only over a minute on the clock.

Rashaun Broadus sealed the deal with a highlight-worthy slalom throughout the whole court and a beautiful play to push the advantage to 20. Juventus controlled the ending of the game and make it through to the semis!

The short-handed Juventus threw only eight men into the battle and two of them didn’t even finish the game. Nevertheless, Simas Buterlevičius led the undermanned team with 19 points and 9 rebounds, while Egidijus Dimsa added 16 and 6, all in just 18 minutes. Saulius Kulvietis ended the game with 14 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists, while Arvydas Siksnius had 12 points including some clutch baskets in the closing quarter. Rashaun Broadus was also in double-digit scoring with 10 points and 6 rebounds.

For the losing side, Michael Dixon Jr. was really the one of few brighter spots in an otherwise gloomy game. The American had 19 points and 7 rebounds and also drew 10 fouls. Aidas Viskontas added 12 points to the total, while Tauras Jogela was third in scoring with just 8 points.