Siauliai start BBL Finals with a win

Photo: Gintaras ŠIUPARYS ("Lietuvos rytas")

SIAULIAI – Siauliai started the BBL Finals on the right note, taking a 62-57 victory against TonyBet at home and will have a five-point advantage before the trip to Prienai on Saturday.


The hosts started the game better, running away to a 19-10 advantage after Julius Jucikas and Rokas Giedraitis connected for an alley-oop, capping off a 6-0 run at the end of the first quarter.

Derek Needham, who was orchestrating his team’s game well in the first two quarters, had extended Siauliai’s lead to 28-18, but Prienai cut the gap to 30-23 by the end of the first half.

After a successful start of the third period, TonyBet got within 36-33 after Mindaugas Lukauskis swished in a corner three-pointer, but Travis Leslie responded with a long-range shot of his own on the other end.

The game took an interesting turn when TonyBet’s coach Virginijus Seskus decided to go to a small line-up, playing with Arvydas Siksnius at the center position.

The change of tactics paid dividends instantly, with Siksnius tying the score at 46-all with a long-range attempt before nailing  another one to put Prienai up by three.

With a 1:18 left on the clock TonyBet were still leading 57-56, but baskets by Derek Needham and Travis Leslie put Siauliai ahead, while Darius Pakamanis sealed the win from the free-throw line.

Leslie paced the winners with 16 points and seven rebounds, Rokas Giedraitis scored 10, while Derek Needham collected nine points.

For TonyBet, Mindaugas Lukauskis had 18 points and four assists, Arvydas Siksnius finished the game with 10 points, while Zygimantas Janavicius chipped in with eight points.