Juventus surprise Tonybet in Utena

Photo: Algimantas Ciza

UTENA ‒ Last season’s Baltic Basketball League (BBL) runners-up Tonybet Prienai were handed a 70-67 upset by Juventus Utena, who won the first leg of the Eight-Final tie.

Prienai had won the two head-to-head meetings between the sides in the regular season, but will have a three-point deficit coming into the second leg.

 

Nikita Barinov started the game red-hot, scoring eight quick points to give Juventus a 15-5 lead already six minutes into the game. However, the double-digit gap didn’t last long, as Tonybet cut the deficit to three points (17-14) at the end of the opening period.

Juventus carried over the three-point edge into the second half (37-34), but an 8-0 run at the start of the third quarter by Prienai allowed the guests to take their first lead of the game at 42-37.

Having led by as many as nine points, Tonybet seemed to have grabbed the control of the game, but the hosts finished the period strong and got within 48-50.

With minutes remaining in the game, the visitors had a 60-55 lead, but eight points in a row by Jeremy Hazell flipped the script completely, as Juventus shot ahead into a 64-60 advantage after Nikita Barinov added a free-throw.

Hazell led all scorers with 18 points and grabbed six rebounds, Barinov cooled off in the second half and finished the game with 11 points, while Averon Matthews chipped in with 10 points and six boards.

For Tonybet, Mindaugas Lukauskis had a team-high 14 points, Laimonas Kisielius scored 13 points and snatched six rebounds, with Arturas Valeika adding 12 points.