OGRE – Saturday adds another L to Borisfen’s win/loss column, as Ogre/Kumho Tyre dismantled the visitors without mercy, shutting down their offense to take the 75-45 victory. Ogre now improve to 5-3, while Borisfen sit on a pitiful 0-9 record.
After scoring the two opening points, Borisfen wouldn’t have the opportunity to hold another lead, as Ogre/Kumho Tyre raced off with a 12-0 run to jump ahead by double-digits. Nevertheless, The Belorussians proved that it was not yet over, as they got back into the game before the first quarter was over.
The two sides battled pretty well for nearly half of the second quarter as well, as the margin was just five points, but the Latvians finally managed to break through – they put up a 13-nothing run and amassed a 38-22 lead at halftime.
The margin only increased over the second half, as it reached game-high 36 points for Ogre in the fourth. It was all said and done early on, and all that mattered was the final score.
Rihards Zebergs was the leading scorer with 16 points to his name, while Lauris Mizis came close to a double-double of 14 points and 9 rebounds. Gints Antrops added 12 points to the tally, while Karlis Apsitis and Janis Poznaks chipped in with 11 points and 10 rebounds, respectively.
Vytautas Kamarunas scored 11 points to lead Borisfen, while Maksim Kozlovets added 9 points to the total.
Thomas van der Mars has been making waves in Baltic basketball this year, as he's already racked up three Player of the Week awards and was recently named MVP for the month of November.
The 26-year-old averaged 18.7 points this month, while also notching a double-double in every single game to put him at 12.3 rebounds per game. Van der Mars also contributed with 1.7 steals, 1.3 assists and 1.0 block a game. BBL.net talked to Thomas all about his experience in the Baltics.
First of all, let me congratulate you on your award. Was it a surprise for you?
I’m not a guy who plays for individual awards or stuff like that, but I can’t deny it is pleasing to receive such recognition also for yourself. So yeah, it was a nice surprise.
Four of five members of the Triobet BBL jury gave their votes for you. Would you call this award the biggest in your career?
I think so. I’ve had few individual awards during my time in college but this is definetely the biggest one while I am playing professionally.
Your team AVIS Rapla also seems on very nice course – five wins in seven matches in the BBL, nine out of 12 in Estonian league. Is it fair to say that this year Rapla is much stronger than the year before?
Well, I can speak only about the second half of the previous season, because I joined the team only in January. But yes, I would agree with you – most of our guys stayed in the team and became more experienced. We try to get better each and every day, and I don't think we are already at the level as we can be. That’s the fun part – to try figure a way how to develop yourself. For now we are mostly using a rotation of 7-8 guys and trying to get the best out of it.
Does AVIS Rapla have specific goals for this season or you are just trying to take game by game?
Yes, we are preparing for each game with such approach, and I think that’s the best way. Sure there are goals and achievements the team wants to reach, but I like how we are doing now – thinking only about the next game and trying to win it. I think that’s the best approach.
You already mentioned your arrival in Estonian and Baltic basketball – it will soon be a full year spent here. What are your impressions about Baltic basketball? Is it much different from what you experienced in NCAA and your home country?
Sure it is. The guys here need to play together much more, there is an emphasis on teamplay. Only trough passing and good positioning you can hope for long-term success. Also in the NCAA we needed to be all on the same page and avoid from really individual one-on-one plays, but here – at least for me – it seems much more important. Everybody needs to be moving, team defense is very important. I also see that lot of teams offer really good defensive schemes and to get past them you need to share the ball, and that is what our team is trying to do – passing on a good shot to get a great shot.
Which team would you rather in the Triobet BBL Play-Offs first round? Let’s not forget to take into consideration that the Play-Offs will consist of eight of the best teams from the regular season and eight seeded teams playing in other European competitions.
I absolutely understand that the strongest BBL teams are not playing in regular season. So, I guess, we just need to try and get as high a place as possible to be seeded higher.
After finishing your studies last summer your name was mentioned in NBA draft rumors several times. What were your thoughts – do you think you had a chance to get drafted?
Well, I knew I wouldn’t be chosen, it just wasn’t a realistic possibility. But yes, I did have a workout with the Portland Trail Blazers. My agent arranged it and it was a really nice experience. I was a bit surprised about their invitation, to be honest, but I really dont regret it.
Lastly, tell me about your national team. Netherlands is not considered a basketball country as much as it with football, but in the last EuroBasket you guys were making quite some noise, and almost reached the TOP 16 stage.
It’s true, we might not be on top of the list when you mention best European teams, but we are slowly growing. Unfortunately, we didn’t qualify for Eurobasket 2017. We had a good run and it all came down to the last game with Germany and unfortunately, we lost it badly.
Fantasy and perhaps not an entirely serious question – if the Dutch national team would compete in one group with the three Baltic states, which position would you finish?
Oh, yes, this is an interesting one (laughs). I remember our game against Lithuania, and they have a really strong team, so... I would say we would be in second place behind Lithuania.
The Triobet BBL week of basketball is still in play, with one more game tomorrow, so let’s take the time out to catch up what’s been going on in other European competitions our clubs are participating in. BBL.net presents you the weekly round-up of European Competitions.
The final round of the EuroCup 7Days Regular Season ended in another loss for Lietkabelis, as they were shooting blanks against Herbalife Gran Canaria. The 73-92 final score could have been much different if it weren’t for a horrendous third quarter. Halfway through the game, it was still just a 2-point game, but the Spaniards turned on a higher gear after the break and left Lietkabelis behind.
VTB United League
Kalev/Cramo suffered their fourth consecutive loss, as they were forced to a 90-99 loss against Enisey. The Estonians really missed any sort of bench production, as the starters accounted for 80 of their points. They seemed to just have run out of steam in the final quarter and that was their sixth win in eight contests.
Basketball Champions League
One of Juventus’ biggest losses of the season came at the hands of SIG Strasbourg, as the Lithuanians were blown out of the water and suffered a 61-86 defeat in Rhenus Sport Arena. The team crumbled in the second quarter, as a 1-point spread quickly skyrocketed to 18 in just ten minutes. The visitors weren’t helped by horrendous shooting from beyond the arc, as they made merely 12 percent of their long-range shots.
Ventspils didn’t have too much luck either, as they were defeated by German club EWE Baskets. The final score signaled a 14-point 73-87 victory for the Oldenburg side, as they amassed their lead mostly in the first quarter, winning it by double digits, 26-13.
Juventus and Ventspils now stand at records of 5-3 and 3-5, respectively.
LIEPAJA – The second game of the night provided us a bit more drama, as Barsy visited Liepaja/Triobet on Thursday evening. The Kazakhs made a great attempt at an upset with a huge comeback in the third quarter, but it was Liepaja/Triobet eventually taking the deserved 75-89 win.
Liepaja/Triobet came out of the locker room some really good defense, keeping the basket closed for almost half of a quarter. That helped them amass their early 10-2 lead, which soon moved into double-digits.
For most of the second quarter it was a level fight, as Barsy came closer, but the final minutes were all about Liepaja. They managed to put up a good run and advanced their lead to 14.
The current situation didn’t stick too well with the Kazakhs, as they mounted a great comeback, wiping away everything Liepaja/Triobet worked so hard to get – 7 minutes into the third quarter, it was already Barsy up ahead.
The two teams entered the final segment of the game on level terms, tied at 64, and Liepaja were quick to show their intentions – a 15-4 run to start the quarter gave them all the tools for victory, as the closed the game in a calm manner. Barsy captain Mikhail Yevstigneev, couldn’t keep his cool on the other hand, and fouled out after a technical foul followed an unsportsmanlike foul. Final score: 89-75 for Liepaja.
Lateef Mcmullan was the highest scorer for the Latvian side with 19 points and 7 assists, but it was Malcolm Griffin who stole the spotlight, as he was just two assists shy of a triple-double. 18 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists for the guard in an impressive showcase of skill. Artjoms Butjankovs was also solid with 14 points and 8 rebounds to his name.
For Barsy Atyrau, Trevin Parks had another strong outing, as he was the game’s highest scorer with 22 points. The aforementioned Vadim Matyukevich was also solid before fouling out, as he had 18 points and 6 rebounds. Pavel Micheev chipped in with 12 points.
JEKABPILS – Another crushing defeat for Borisfen, this time at the hands of Jekabpils. The Belorussians continue to struggle to put up a fight against any opponent and had to face the consequences – it was a huge 46-94 win for the home side, pushing their record to 6-2.
You could say Jekabpils got all their building blocks for a win ready in the first quarter, as they left their opponents dazed and confused with an enormous run in the second half of the first quarter. The Latvians were still down by two points at the 5 minute mark, but forced six turnovers in the next five minutes and finished the quarter high on an 18-0 run.
Borisfen might have hoped the start of the second quarter would bring in a fresh breeze, but Jekabpils didn’t become complacent and expanded the run to 29-1. At that time it was apparent, there was no return from a 27-point deficit for Borisfen.
The margin reached 30 points by the end of the third quarter, and the fourth was merely a formality, but Jekabpils made sure they had some fun. They made 4 three-pointers to stretch the lead to 42 three minutes into the final period and finally reached the 50-point mark with seconds to go in the game.
Jurijs Aleksejevs had a great night, scoring 16 points, while also adding 9 rebounds and 4 assists to the tally. Kristaps Miglinieks added another 16 points, while Janis Antrops and Edgars Stelmahers scored 13 points apiece. Roberts Stumbris ended the game with 12.
Maksim Kozlovets was the only player to stand out in Borisfen’s line-up, as he had 12 points.
OGRE – With a new basket in place, Ogre/Kumho Tyre hoped they could respond well to last week’s technical loss with a win against one of Group B leaders, Valmiera. However, after a tough fight, they had to face defeat for the third time, losing 65-71.
The home side looked strong in the opening stages of the game. Despite Valmiera getting off to a 7-2 start, Ogre quickly overtook their opponents with three unanswered baskets. They closed out the quarter in style and went into the second quarter five points ahead.
A three-pointer to open the quarter helped Ogre/Kumho Tyre amass an 8-point margin, which the held on for half a quarter. However, just a few good plays later, it was very swiftly blown away. Valmiera/ORDO won the quarter by three and it was just a 2-point spread at halftime.
The visitors finally managed to retake the lead mid-way through the third quarter, but a 13-2 run for Ogre put them back ahead, this time by a game-high 10 points. As we got used to, the lead didn’t stick for long…
Six points was the margin with ten minutes to go, and just one point separated the two teams another 84 seconds later. The game looked to be turning into a thriller, but Valmiera/ORDO managed to get a couple plays going for them and amassed a six-point lead, not giving the home side too much of a chance to fight back.
RIGA – Another great victory pushes Barons kvartals record to 5-2, as they coasted past Jurmala/Fenikss with an 86-64 result to rise up the standings in Group A.
The first quarter predicted no drama, as the home side immediately rocketed ahead. They shot at a high percentage and managed to double-up over Jurmala/Fenikss, the lead standing at 26-13 after one quarter.
Jurmala/Fenikss tried coming back into the game as soon as possible, going off to a 9-2 run in the first half of the quarter, but turnovers kept pushing the team down. They turned the ball over 7 times in just the second quarter and that allowed Barons kvartals to build back their lead to 16 points.
The visitors once again made a small run at the lead, but seven points in a row only gets you that far. After trimming the lead to 11, turnovers once again led to an immediate response from Barons.
Before the final quarter started, Tyler Larson banged in a last-second three-pointer to take the game to a 20-point spread, and it looked to be over right there.
Barons kvartals added to their lead and ended up winning the game by 22 points.
Roberts Freimanis was the key player for Barons kvartals tonight with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 5 steals to his name, while Kristaps Mediss added another 16 points, including 3-of-4 from downtown. The Lithuanian duo of Tauras Jogela, who recorded 14 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists, and Denis Krestinin, who had 11 points and 9 rebounds, was once again rolling with steam, while Tyler Larson added another 11 points to the tally.
Only two players reached double digits in scoring for Jurmala/Fenikss, as Edgars Jeromanovs led the way in scoring despite his woeful 4-of-13 FG shooting, with 13 points in his account. Marcis Saulitis added 10 points to the tally, while Viktors Iljins wasn‘t too far away from a double-double, with 8 points and rebounds each.
TALLINN – A great opening quarter helped TTU achieve their third victory in eight games, as they managed to defeat Group B rivals Tarvas/Palmse Metall 93-78, as the visitors now drop to just a 2-6 record.
TTU went all out to get a good early start and put themselves in a terrific position after 10 minutes of basketball, as they looked at a 31-17 lead.
Tarvas/Palmse Metall managed to trim the deficit slightly in the second quarter, but just not enough to cut into single digits. Led by Oliver Metsalu, the visitors managed to take the deficit down to 11.
After halftime, Tarvas continued closing in, as they were down by just six nearly midway through the quarter. However, TTU went back to their ways and reinstated a 15-point spread before the final quarter.
Perhaps the visiting side ran out of gas, but they couldn’t make any further coups, as the margin remained very much intact at 15 points until the very end of the game.
Joonas Jarvelainen was once again the go-to guy for TTU, as his 23-point and 10-rebound performance stood out in the game. Sten Olmre added 15 points, while Ivalo Pajumets added 14. Kiur Akenparg ended the game with 11 points.
For Tarvas, Oliver Metsalu was the leading scorer, as he had 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Siim Markus Post added 15 points, while Mario Paiste and Timo Eichfuss both chipped in with 11 points.
PARNU – AVIS Rapla secured their fifth win after defeating sixth-placed Port of Parnu on Tuesday evening. In what turned into a close game, Rapla managed to keep their heads above the water and finished up by 6, 71-65.
Parnu, who now hold a record of 1-6, took control in the later stages of the first quarter, as they jumped ahead by seven, 17-10.
The second quarter was the polar opposite, as Rapla dominated in all aspects of the game. They won the quarter 26-11 and looked at a handsome 8-point lead at halftime.
They managed to up the margin to 11 in the third quarter and looked very much in control to take the victory home. However, Port of Parnu managed to bring a fight back into the game.
While the home side was still down by 14 with four minutes of basketball remaining, they clawed their way back with a 13-1 run to cut the lead down to just two with 50 seconds remaining.
Nevertheless Rasham Suarez managed to convert his shot on the other end, pushing the lead to four, while Parnu didn’t make their three-pointer to stretch the game. Rapla closed out the game with two more points, allowing them the 71-65 lead.
Thomas van der Mars was once again the key man for Rapla, as he scored 15 points and tore down 9 rebounds. Martin Paasoja added 13 points, while the trio of Domen Bratoz, Indrek Kajupank and Sven Kaldre all accounted for 11 points apiece.
19-year-old Norman Kabin was the top scorer for Port of Parnu, as he tallied 13 points. He also added 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. Edvinas Seskus added 11 points, while Reinar Hallik and Rannar Raap had 10 each.
KEDAINIAI – A (very late) season-opener was nothing to be too proud of for Barsy Atyrau. They battled fairly well for two quarters, but broke down after the break, as they suffered a blow-out 60-94 loss against Nevezis.
Nevezis got off to a great start, both offensively and defensively, as they jumped out to an 11-4 lead right out of the locker room. However, Barsy responded well, as an 11-0 run pushed them ahead and helped them finish the quarter up by one, while keeping their opponents scoreless for nearly five minutes.
The second quarter was much better for Nevezis, as they overtook their opponents and pushed for a five-point halftime lead. The small gap between the two clubs had us excited for the second half, but Nevezis made sure any attempts of an upset would be denied early.
Nevezis came firing right out of the gates in the second half, as their lead rose to 15 points. Then things took a swing from bad to worse for Barsy in the fourth quarter, as Nevezis opened up the quarter with six three-point plays (including five three-pointers), advancing their lead to an insurmountable 29 points and an eventual victory.
The duo of Ignas Vaitkus and Paulius Petrilevicius went all-out today, as they scored 22 and 21 points, respectively. Ivan Smiljanic added 15 points to the tally, while Toni Prostan was absolutely incredible getting his teammates involved, as he added 17 assists to his 7 point and 4 rebounds totals.
Trevin Parks was the leading scorer for Barsy with 19 points, while Mikhail Yevstigneev added 17 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists.