Overtime draw allows Rock to advance

LIEPAJA – We’ve got ourselves the first Semifinalist and it’s a team from Estonia! After a dramatic ending to the series and an extra five minutes of battle, TU/Rock managed to get through despite not even securing a victory! They tied with Liepaja/Triobet for a 71-71 (13-13; 21-15; 22-14; 14-18; 11-1) score in the return game.

 

While the first game ended with a 59-49 Tartu victory, it was definitely not a margin that could automatically decide the fate of the series.

The home team tipped the game off strong and got a small lead after a 7-0 run. However, it was very quickly answered and the two sides finished the quarter on even terms.

Liepaja/Triobet took initiative in the second quarter and got closer and closer to their opponents. Going into the break they were already up by six in the game.

Tartu seemed a bit lost in the second half and couldn’t manage to break through the Latvian defense. Backed by an army of fans, Liepaja/Triobet shot ahead and finally jumped ahead in the series’ combined result. Three quarters through, the home team had a 14-point advantage, and were now the leading team in the series.

Liepaja had already settled down with a 16-point advantage, but then came Rock’s three point hail, which put them back ahead in the combined score. Both teams seemed to play nervously and kept turning the ball over and forcing difficult shots, so the gap stayed around the ten point mark.

After Janar Talts dropped a three-pointer to reduce the deficit to eight for Tartu, Mareks Jurevicus responded with a trey of his own, returning the one-point lead to the Latvians. After a pair of successful trips from both sides, the teams were forced to play overtime, since the series’ score was all tied at 119.

Tartu Rock dominated the backboards in the extra five minutes and locked down on the defensive end, only allowing 1 point throughout the whole overtime and deservedly jumped on to the Semifinals stage.

Tanel Sokk played nearly the whole game and was the initiator on the offensive end with 18 points. Augustas Peciukevicius chipped in with 14 points and 6 rebounds, while Janar Talts was the third player in double-digit scoring for Tartu with 11 points.

Mareks Jurevicus was wonderful for the Latvians with 24 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Lauris Blaus added 14 points and 9 rebounds, while Dwayne Johnson finished off with 11 points. Edgaras Zelionis ended the game with 10 points.