Siauliai narrowly escape Juventus' storm

SIAULIAI – As expected, it was a narrow finish in the Lithuanian derby between Siauliai and Juventus, yet the home side managed to get away with a four point win, 73-69 (18-15; 18-16; 15-21; 22-17). They will have a small advantage before the return game on the 22nd in Utena.


It was a nip-and-tuck affair right from the get-go and it was obvious how badly both sides want to win it. With a quarter gone, three points separated the two clubs, as Siauliai held on to an 18-15 lead.

Juventus eventually evened the score in the second period, but Siauliai played out the final minutes of the half very efficiently and regained control of the game with a small, yet very valuable five point lead.

Siauliai mounted their biggest lead of the game in the third quarter, when it reached 9 points and while it was the home side in the leading role for most of the game, it all turned around late in the third frame. Not only did the visitors trim the margin, they even managed to take a one-point lead before the final ten minutes.

Juventus locked down their opponents and it seemed they were on the highway to victory, as their lead reached 9 points midway through the fourth quarter. But once again, the tables turned and Siauliai came running back. They ended the game with a 15-2 run and were happy to have gotten out of this sticky situation.

Rokas Giedraitis was the highlight performer tonight, as he carried the victors with 20 points. Gintaras Leonavicius chipped in with 13, while Rolandas Alijevas, Julius Jucikas and Vytautas Sulskis ended the game with 10 points apiece. While the starting unit took care of most of the scoring responsibilities, the bench only added another 10 points.

The scoring for Juventus was a bit more spread out throughout the roster, as Rashaun Broadus and Nikita Barinov led the way with 13 points. Simas Buterlevicius added 10, while Arvydas Siksnius finished with 8 points in his account.