Pieno Zvaigzdes survive thriller in Utena

Photo: Algimantas Ciza

UTENA – Juventus came close to handing Pieno Zvaigzdes the first loss of the season, but the visitors from Pasvalys held on to take a 66-64 win against their Group C rivals.

It was the seventh consecutive win for Pieno Zvaigzdes, while the team from Utena dropped to a 2-4 record.

 

It was a close game right from the start and -- throughout the entire 40 minutes – neither team led by more than nine points.

Although Pieno Zvaigzdes was in front for the majority of the time, Juventus showed their teeth late in the game, clawing back from a 62-55 deficit for a nail-biting finish.

The hosts were within a single point with a minute left in the game, but Aidas Viskontas could not take advantage of a couple decent opportunities.

With 18 seconds remaining, Juventus sent Aliaksandr Kudrautsau to the free-throw line and the Belarussian guard converted only one-of-two from the stripe, giving Juventus hope.

Nikita Barinov’s post-up resulted in a foul, but the athletic forward could not seize the opportunity to tie the game, missing his second foul shot.

Juventus had no other option but to foul Evaldas Kairys, who grabbed the rebound. Fortunately for the home side, the big man also missed one shot, but the half-court heave by the hosts fell short.

Egidijus Dimsa had a game-high 12 points for Pieno Zvaigzdes, while the newcomer from Belarus Aliaksandr Kudrautsau added 10 points, with no other players reaching double digits.

For Juventus, Saulius Kulvietis and Aidas Viskontas scored 11 points apiece, while Gintautas Matulis collected 10 points.