Liutych drops 47, leads Kalev/Cramo to first-leg win

TALLINN – An incredible performance from Vitali Liutych and a third-quarter surge lit the way to victory for Kalev/Cramo, as they defeated their Quarterfinal opponents Barons kvartals. Despite getting off to a rough start, they ended up on top with a 19-point advantage before the second leg, 100-81.


Barons kvartals looked strong right out of the gates, as they held on to a slight advantage for most of the first period, seeing the lead rise to as many as 8 points late in the opening quarter. However, that lead was very short-lived, as the Estonians responded with a 14-2 run at the start of the second. By halftime, they had already pushed ahead, leading 46-44.

The third quarter was a solo show from Vitali Liutych, as he dropped 18 in the ten minute period alone, allowing Kalev/Cramo to jump ahead by 15.

The Latvians made a great sequence of plays amidst the fourth quarter which allowed them to cut into the margin slightly. Nevertheless, Kalev/Cramo responded well and before the final buzzer sounded, it was a wide margin between the two teams, 100-81.

Vitali Liutych ended up scoring 47 points in a game for the history books. It was the best scoring performance in Triobet BBL history, as he broke several records along the way. He also added 8 rebounds and 3 steals to the tally.

Branko Mirkovic was also solid with 13 points to his name, while Rain Veideman took care of the playmaking, scoring 11 points, dishing out 7 assists and tearing down 5 rebounds. Cedric Simmons came close to a double-double with 9 points and 11 rebounds.

For the other side Davis Geks was the top scorer with 22 points to his name. Kristaps Mediss and Denis Krestinin added 16 and 15 points, respectively, while Davis Rozitis ended the game with 11 points and 9 boards.

Barons kvartals Head Coach Martins Gulbis: "I am very proud of my guys who fought very well considering the fact that it was a very long and stressful day. We left Riga at 9:30 and traveled the whole day. It was a bit too much but it's not an excuse. For almost 30 minutes it was an even game but finally their leader Liutych made the day for them. We missed important shots and that was it. But I am sure that we will put up a good fight in Riga."

Kalev/Cramo Head Coach Alar Varrak: "I can't remember, if I've ever seen a game like this. The game ended in regulation but lasted two hours - it had literally everything and the crowd definitely had a lot to enjoy. They played, or should I say, were allowed to play very physically in the first half and we had a lot of trouble dealing with that. The key to our success was that we adapted to their style of play and in the second half they couldn't surprise us any more."