RAPLA - It was quite a struggle for visiting Tartu University, but they ended up with an important six-point victory against AVIS Utilitas Rapla, 73-67 in the pair's first Quarterfinal match-up.
The visitors held a tangible lead for most of the game, enjoying a double-digit lead after three quarters. However, Rapla made the series interesting with a good final quarter.
Janar Talts had an impressive game for the victors, as he collected a neat double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds. Vytenis Cizauskas added 15 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists, while Kristjan Kitsing and Julius Kazakauskas finished up with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
All of Rapla's scoring came from just six players, as Dominique Hawkins led the way with 15 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds in his account. Nolan Cressler added 13 points, 6 boards and 5 assists, while Gert Dorbek and Domagoj Bubalo ended up scoring a dozen each. Indrek Kajupank and Devonte Upson had 8 and 7 points, respectively.
The return leg will be played in Tartu on the 6th of March.
OGRE - The BBL Playoffs began with an exciting showcase between two great teams, where Siauliai rose victorious against Ogre, 78-75.
The game was a neck-to-neck battle from end-to-end. While Siauliai had the upper hand in the early stages of the game, Ogre came back firing in the third quarter and tied the game up.
From then on, the two just went back and forth with the lead changing hands time and time again.
The trio of Laurynas Birutis, Nick Zeisloft and Arminas Urbutis ended up with 15 points, with Birutis also adding 17 rebounds to the tally for Siauliai.
Rinalds Sirsnins had an imressive performance with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists. Janis Poznaks added 17 points and 9 boards, while Gints Antrops ended the game with 16.
The return leg will be played on the 7th of March in Ogre.
With a regular season full of excitement, on-court and off-court drama, records and wonderful skill showcases, it has come to a finish. Eight clubs, top four from each group continue their quest for a trophy with the first step being the BBL Quarterfinals.
The pairs were decided by a traditional two group format, where the first seed of Group A plays the fourth seed of Group B, second seed of Group A plays the third seed of Group B and vice versa.
All qualified teams will be ranked from 1st to 8th place according to their win-loss records for determining home/away games in the BBL Semi-Finals and the BBL Finals (the team with the higher ranking after BBL Regular season will play the second game at home), but the Quarterfinals will be played out as follows:
The winners of the 1st pair will face the winners of the 3rd pair in one side of the Playoff tree in the Semifinals, while the winners of the 2nd and 4th pairs will line up on the other.
The games will be played in a home-away format and the team with an advantage in the combined score of both games will move on to the next round. The first leg of the Eight-Finals will be played on the 27-28th of February, while the second leg will be carried out after a week's break, on the 6-7th of March.
LIEPAJA - In a game that had little meaning to the final standings, Betsafe/Liepaja held on to a 63-61 victory over visiting Tsmoki Minsk.
Liepaja earned their third victory, improving to a 3-7 record and tied the 4th-seeded Port of Parnu in the win column, but that was not enough for a place in the Playoffs due to their head-to-head results.
The loss means Tsmoki finish with the league's worst record, with their only victory coming against the aforementioned Parnu club a couple weeks ago. The Belorussian side is dead-last with a 1-9 record.
Liepaja had a great effort from Markes Jurevicus, who dropped 16 points and dished out 4 assists. The trio of Toms Leimanis, Karlis Leimanis and Roberts Krastins all ended the night with 9 points apiece.
Tsmoki had two players in double-digit scoring, as Yauheni Beliankou led the way with 16. Anton Vashkevich added 12 points to the tally. Viktar Ausepian was strong under the boards, tallying 8 points and 11 rebounds, while Aliaksei Laskevich added another 8 points and 7 boards.
TALLINN - Pieno Zvaigzdes finished the regular season on a high note, tabbing their eleventh victory, defeating TTU 96-68.
The Pasvalys secured the league-best 11-1 record and took the top spot in Group B with little competition. TTU finished with a 3-9 record, finishing ahead of Valmiera/ORDO for the fifth spot.
While Osvaldas Olisevicius was the top scorer with 17 points for Pieno Zvaigzdes, it was Vyacheslav Bobrov raking in the man of the match honors, as he assembled a double-double of 16 points and 11 boards. Tomas Lekunas had 14 points, while Lis Shoshi ended up with 13 plus 10. Arturs Ausejs finished the game with 12 points to his name.
As for TTU, Toomas Raadik ended up being the leading scorer, as he dropped 15 points to the tally. Martin Giese added 12, while Sten Olmre picked up 11 on a horrific 4-of-15 shooting night. Oliver Metsalu and Matthias Tass finished up with 10 points each.
OGRE - Despite an 89-85 Ogre victory, it was the players of Tartu University smiling at the end of the game, as they achieved their goal of losing by less than six points.
Having won the first game 70-64, the Estonians didn't even need a victory today to hang on to the second seed and it was a thriller of a game right until the very last second.
With the whole Playoffs picture already clear, this means the result still has Tartu in the second position with an 8-4 record, as they look to face off against AVIS Utilitas Rapla in the Quarterfinals. Ogre have an identical record, but that one final miss has them battling a much fiercer opponent, Siauliai, who have their last seven games.
Ogre had the game's highest lead in the third quarter, as they powered ahead by 10 points, but that margin was short-lived and with three minutes remaining, the two teams were separated by just one point. While Ogre managed to get ahead by seven, Kristjan Kitsing drained a three-pointer with nine seconds remaining to hand the Estonians the required result.
Tartu relied their on their key players to carry the team in this game, as the starting unit accounted for 79 points, while Ogre's bench had more than half - 45.
Janis Poznaks came close to a double-double with 22 points and 9 rebounds, while Roberts Niedra came off the bench for 16 points and 4 blocks, while Gints Antrops added 16 points of his own. Rinalds Sirsnins chipped in with 13, while Marcis Vitols finished the game with 10 points and 7 assists.
Vytenis Cizauskas had a terrific night for Tartu, as he went off for 26 points and 7 assists. Tanel Sokk added 20, while Kristjan Kitsing and Janar Talts ended up with 17 and 13 points, respectively.
JURMALA - Leading from the first minute to the last, Jurmala made sure they topped Group A by defeating Tsmoki Minsk 90-57.
Jurmala finish with a 9-1 record in Group A, as a better head-to-head record over Siauliai allowed them to finish first in the group. For Tsmoki, they sit with a league-worst record of 1-8 and their final game will not matter much.
It was a no-contest from the very first minute to the last, and Jurmala gave a lot of time to their bench players in this easy victory. They reached their biggest lead, 36 points, in the fourth quarter and didn't look back.
Ivars Zvigurs had a terrific 18 minutes on the court, dropping 20 points and adding 9 rebounds. Haralds Karlis added 16 points, while Marcis Saulitis chipped in with 13. Edgars Jeromanovs ended up with 10 points.
Yauheni Beliankou and Andrei Rahozenka were the two players in double-digit scoring, scoring 15 and 14 points, respectively.
TALLINN - Pieno Zvaigzdes claimed their seventh consecutive victory, as they easily took care of Tallinna Kalev/TLU and took home a 98-77 victory.
Pieno Zvaigzdes secured a league-best 10th victory and sit atop of Group B with a 10-1 record. For TLU, the loss leaves them fourth with a good 7-5 record, a win short of Tartu and Ogre.
Kalev/TLU did not lead for a second, as they saw the Lithuanian side gradually run away and claim a tremendous tenth victory.
Jahenns Manigat seemed to be gelling into the Pasvalys team roster well, leading the squad in scoring with 18 points. Vyacheslav Bobrov added 16 points, while Trevon Hughes had a dozen. Nikita Bolashov and Tomas Lekunas joined the double-digit club with 10 points each.
For TLU, the trio of Bamba Fall, Kristo Saage and Kiur Akenparg were the key players. Fall led the way with 18 points and 9 rebounds, while Saage added another 18 to the tally. Kiur Akenparg finished with 14 in his account.
Four terrific performances and three victories this month allowed University of Tartu veteran Janar Talts claim the BBL Player of the Month award for the month of January.
The 34-year-old Power Forward has been in scintillating form this past month, averaging 18.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.8 steals and another 1.8 blocks per game, as his team climbed up the standings with three consecutive wins to end the month.
Talts' most impressive performance came right after the New Year, as he dropped 25 points and added 8 rebounds for a total of 31 ranking points. Despite his terrific performance, Tartu failed to overcome Kalev/TLU and fell just short.
However, the Estonian side surprised a lot of people with an 80-74 win against previously unbeaten Pieno Zvaigzdes. Talts had another terrific performance in that game, going off for 19 points, 10 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 blocks.
He followed that up with another two good games, scoring in double figures in limited time, as Tartu blew out Valmiera/ORDO and Barsy.
Tartu's last game of the regular season will be in Ogre, where they hope to assert themselves as the number two seed in Group B.
SIAULIAI - Siauliai finished their regular season campaign with a streak of seven victories, as they defeated AVIS Utilitas Rapla 107-77 on Wednesday evening.
The victory at home allows the to finish the regular season with a 9-1 record, which ranks them among the top teams in the league. However, because of a worse head-to-head result against Jurmala, they have to wait for the rest of the results in both groups to find out their final spot in the standings and their Playoffs opponents.
The loss doesn't mean much for Rapla, as they stay in the third spot with a 5-5 record.
The Lithuanians took no time to assert their dominance, as they reached a double-digit lead early in the second quarter, and kept on building up on it. The lead reached a game-high of 33 points in the final quarter.
Laurynas Birutis had 21 points and 7 rebounds, as he led his team in scoring after missing out on their last game. Sarunas Beniusis added a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Arminas Urbutis and Evaldas Saulys finished the game with a dozen points each. Kristupas Zemaitis swished and dished for 10 points and 10 boards.
Gert Dorbek was the leading scorer for Rapla with 15 points, Devonte Upson added 13, while Indrek Kajupank ended the game with 10.