Vytautas flip the script in Semi-Final, defeat Kalev/Cramo

PRIENAI – The first finalist was finally revealed after a hard-fought battle between Vytautas and Kalev/Cramo. While the visitors came into the game with a six-point advantage, that proved to be insufficient, as the Lithuanians won 88-77 and advanced to the Finals of the tournament.

 

It was a slow start for both squads, as nerves were definitely in play. Both sides struggled finding ways to the basket all quarter long, and it was a 4-point advantage, 13-9, for the visitors after ten minutes of play.

Kalev/Cramo brought out the big guns in the second quarter, as they raced off to a 26-13 lead not even halfway into the second period. However, Vytautas were not ready to give up on their hopes despite a combined 19-point deficit considering the first match-up. They got within six points in the game before halftime and gave themselves a fighting chance.

They continued working hard after the break and soon managed to tie up the game. And although Kalev/Cramo led for the lion‘s share of the third quarter, Tomas Delininkaitis took over, as he started splashing, nailing a couple of threes to push the Lithuanians ahead 54-51 right before the buzzer. Making things a bit worse for Vytautas was the fact that Vytenis Cizauskas had already fouled out, while Arturas Valeika was in heavy foul trouble.

Vytautas opened up the quarter with another three and that wiped away the whole first-game deficit and now put Kalev/Cramo in the chaser‘s position.

The margin had already reached 10 points, but Vitali Liutych hit a three, followed by an offensive foul from Arturas Valeika, which was also his fifth, and Kalev/Cramo was hoping to regain some ground.

The Lithuanians won the battle under the boards with multiple offensive rebounds and kept a safe advantage helped by long-range bombs with the clock running out. With 2 minutes on the clock, the Lithuanians had already jumped ahead by 17 and it seemed all done, as their defense seemed impenetrable in the second half.

However, it seemed Vytautas wasn’t ready for Kalev’s full-court press, as they wiped away 7 points in less than 30 second, followed by a three-pointer, bringing the Estonians within nine, with an opportunity to trim the deficit even more. Liutych’s three missed the mark and fouling was the last unsuccessful attempt to salvage something out of the game.