Four weeks into the season, the battles in Triobet BBL have only intensified. While some teams have started the 2015-16 campaign with a bang and have looked to break away in the standings, others are equally determined to not let that happen. Let’s take a look back at the outstanding performances of the week in another volume of Triobet BBL Weekly Review!
MVP. The first monthly MVP award in Triobet BBL this season was snatched up by Port of Parnu’s guard Andrew Warren, who averaged 29 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2 assists and 5 steals per game in October. However, the Parnu club is still winless and the 28-year-old American will attempt to rectify that in a home game against TLU Kalev on Tuesday.
LEADERS. After the week’s action, Liepaja/Triobet and Vytautas improved to a shared league-best 4-0 record. The Latvian club won the Group B Latvian derby against Jekabpils 91-71, while the Lithuanian side registered two close wins in Estonia, defeating TTU and Tarvas, 102-96 and 85-83 respectively. Valmiera/ORDO, who did not play last week, is the only other undefeated team in the competition, with a 3-0 mark in Group A.
THE GAP. There is a huge difference between the top and bottom Triobet BBL teams in terms of scoring. Vytautas leads the league with a stellar 90 points per game average, Liepaja/Triobet is second with 85.3 points per game, while Valmiera/ORDO is third with 83.7. Meanwhile, Barons/LDz is the worst team in the league with an average of 61.3 points per game.
BACK ON TRACK. After starting the season with two losses, Barsy have managed to turn it around. Having improved to a 2-2 record, the Kazakh side climbed to third place in Group B after a solid 79-69 victory at Jurmala/Fenikss. Michael Burwell is doing wonders for his team, averaging 17 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
TURNING IT OVER. It was a rather careless week for Barons/LDz guard Davis Zonne, who committed six turnovers in a 60-88 loss against Lietkabelis on the road in Lithuania. Four players were close to equaling this performance: Zonne’s teammates Cliff Coleman, as well as Reimo Tamm from TLU Kalev, Edmunds Elksnis from Jurmala/Fenikss and Michael Burwell from Barsy turned the ball over five times. In comparison, Vytautas committed only seven turnovers as a team in their 85-83 win against Tarvas.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK. Two players who faced each other in the game between Tarvas and Vytautas share the honors for the week’s best performance, having collected 35 ranking points. Janari Joesaar scored 29 points and grabbed nine rebounds, but Vytautas Sulskis had an equally brilliant performance, scoring 24 points and adding 14 boards on the way to a road two-point win in Estonia.
There are five Triobet BBL clubs participating in the inaugural edition of the FIBA Europe Cup. However, they will only join Triobet BBL Play-Offs if they fail to qualify for the elimination stage in the continental competition.
To keep you up-to-date with situation of our clubs, BBL.net brings you the latest international updates in a weekly round-up.
It was another good week for BK Ventspils and TU/Rock, as both clubs improved to a 2-0 record and will be happy with the positive start to the FIBA Europe Cup campaign. Meanwhile, Siauliai registered their first win, defeating group favorites Royal Hali Gaziantep. However, the two other Lithuanian clubs, Juventus and Pieno Zvaigzdes, lost once again and are now at the bottom of their respective groups with a 0-2 mark.
Pieno Zvaigzdes 96-100 BK Ventspils
After a painful loss in Poland last week, Pieno Zvaigzdes lost another close game, as Ventspils came away with a 100-96 victory on the road in Lithuania. The visitors from Latvia had gained a double-digit lead in the third quarter, but Pieno Zvaigzdes fought back within two points, before eventually falling short in a high-scoring Baltic clash.
Maris Gulbis led Ventspils with 24 points and five rebounds, Kristaps Janicenoks scored 18 points, while Zanis Peiners added 15. For Pieno Zvaigzdes, Zygimantas Skucas scored 29 points and grabbed six rebounds, while Demond Carter dropped 19 points and five assists in his debut for the Lithuanian team.
ETHA Engomi 55-67 TU/Rock
TU/Rock celebrated their second win in as many games, defeating ETHA Engomi 67-55 in Cyprus, despite a slow start of the game. Having fallen behind 22-7, TU/Rock bounced back with a 22-2 run in the second period to take the upper hand in the game, staying in command until the final whistle.
Lithuanian guard Evaldas Zabas was the game’s leading scorer with 18 points and seven rebounds, his countryman Karolis Petrukonis scored 14 points, while Estonian national team point guard Tanel Sokk chipped in with 11 points, six rebounds and five assists.
BC Siauliai 72-69 Royal Hali Gaziantep
Siauliai pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the week in FIBA Europe Cup, downing the visiting Royal Hali Gaziantep 72-69 in Lithuania to bounce back from last week’s defeat in Poland. In a game of ups and downs, the hosts performed better down the line, going on a 12-4 run to storm in front.
Arturas Jomantas led the winners in scoring with 16 points and six rebounds, Assem Marei had a monstrous double-double of 14 points and 16 rebounds, while Paulius Dambrauskas finished the game with 11 points, including a key three-pointer in the fourth quarter.
Juventus 86-90 Khimik
Juventus failed to mark the club’s international home debut with a win, as Ukrainian side Khimik triumphed 90-86 in Utena after overtime. The Lithuanians could not stop Branden Frazier down the stretch, as the American guard scored 24 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out seven dimes for the visitors.
For Juventus, Edgaras Zelionis scored 16 points and blocked three shots, Spencer Butterfield added 14 points, while Egidijus Dimsa chipped in with 11 points and five rebounds.
JURMALA – Barsy secured their second victory in a row, as they defeated Jurmala/Fenikss 79-63 in the Group B match-up.
Barsy were up and at it from tip-off, as they raced off to a 27-12 lead after the first quarter. The visitors managed to contain Jurmala’s scorers and retained a big lead.
Not much changed in the second half, as the lead rose to 26. While Jurmala/Fenikss did manage to get a good scoring run late in the fourth quarter, it did not make a big difference in the final outcome.
Michael Burwell achieved a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Ryan Cook added 15 points. Dmitriy Klimov and Bryan Harrison ended the game with 11 points apiece.
Maris Ziedins was the top scorer with 15 points for Jurmala/Fenikss, while Edgars Jeromanovs added 8.
RAPLA – Nevezis managed to recover after a tough loss yesterday and secured a 88-70 victory against Rapla for their second win in Group A.
While the game looked to be an intense outing initially, Taylor King made sure Nevezis got off to a hot start, as he buried Rapla with five long-range hits for a total of 15 points in the first quarter alone.
Although King was silent in the second quarter, that didn’t help Rapla cut into the margin and they were still down by double-digits at halftime.
Nevezis were solid in the second half too and were already up by twenty. The final quarter was merely a matter of final statistics, as the Lithuanians celebrated a dominating upset win.
Taylor King was the top scorer for Nevezis, as he added two more three-pointers to his name and ended the game with 21 points and 6 rebounds. Tomas Gaidamavicius and Mindaugas Kupsas added 12 points apiece, while Ernestas Ezerskis chipped in with 11 points and 7 rebounds.
Only six players got on the scoresheet for AVIS Rapla, as Devin Brooks and William Artino led the team with 19 each. Artino also added 12 rebounds to the tally. Sven Kaldre added 15 points, while Domagoj Bubalo finished the game with 10.
TALLINN – In their second of two back-to-back games, Vytautas secured another victory, as they defeated TTU 102-96 in a very high-scoring match-up. This marked the fourth consecutive victory for the Lithuanians.
Vytautas had a good start to the game and were up by seven after the initial ten minutes.
Nevertheless, the duo of Kiur Akenparg and Kristjan Kitsing managed to keep the home side afloat with terrific performances, scoring 18 and 13 points respectively in the first half alone. Two quarters in, the Estonians were already up by two.
Akenparg’s dominance continued in the third quarter and after a couple forced turnovers and a technical foul on Laimonas Kisielius, TTU established an 8-point advantage.
Vytautas seemed out of balance and coach Seskus earned another technical foul. Nevertheless, the Lithuanians were still in the game, as they were stuck only seven with a quarter remaining.
The visitors came running back in the final quarter and were already in pole position halfway through the quarter. With a minute on the clock, Vytautas were up by six and a couple of defensive stops secured a tough victory for them.
Gytis Sirutavicius was very solid all the way throughout the game, as he was responsible for 28 of the team’s points. Laimonas Kisielius added 23 to the total, while Sarunas Vasiliauskas swished and dished for 18 and 6. Vytautas Sulskis was his usual self with 12 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
Kiur Akenparg was shut down in the final minutes but that didn’t stop him from tallying 32 points. Kristjan Kitsing added 24 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, while Rait-Riivo Laane chipped in with 14 points and 10 assists. Corey Raley-Ross was good for 12 points, while Toomas Raadik ended the game with 10 points.
PANEVEZYS – Lietkabelis tabbed their fourth victory in five tries after leading end-to-end against Barons/LDz. The Lithuanians got off to a hot start and cruised to an easy 88-60 victory.
It was a one-sided affair from the very first minute, as the Lithuanians simply dominated on both ends of the court. Although it was just a quarter into the game, it already seemed to be all said and done, as Lietkabelis spiked ahead 35-8.
While the situation got slightly better for Barons/LDz in the second quarter, it was still a 19-point game at halftime.
While Barons/LDz‘s spark in the second quarter might have brought some fire into the game, it was extinguished right after the break, when the Lithuanians soared to a game-high 33-point lead.
Lietkabelis hammered in the final nails into the coffin in the final period and celebrated a huge Group A victory.
Arnas Labuckas and Jermaine Love were the top scorers for Lietkabelis, as they tallied 18 points apiece. Brandon Wood chipped in with 16 points, while Valdas Vasylius finished the game with 15.
Both of Barons/LDz’s leading scorers came off the bench, as Malcolm Rhett tallied 13 points, while Jason Calliste added 12.
RAKVERE – After grabbing their first two victories with relative ease, Vytautas finally met a worthy opponent in Rakvere, where they struggled to a 85-83 victory against Tarvas.
The sides seemed evenly matched from the get-go, as the lead kept swinging back and forth for most of the first half. Vytautas pulled slightly ahead with the three-point first quarter advantage and managed to expand it to 9 late in the second quarter, yet Tarvas were never looking to give in. They mounted a 13-5 run to end the quarter and were looking at a single-point deficit at halftime.
The teams were level pegging throughout the whole second half, with neither squad managing to make it more than a two-possession lead. It went back and forth and with only a minute remaining, the teams were separated by only one point.
While Vytautas dominated the boards in the late stages, it didn’t help much, as they couldn’t get a basket to fall. Despite that, Tarvas were unable to shift the score in their favor.
They turned the ball over in a possession that would have given them the lead and were forced to foul to stop the clock. Sarunas Vasiliauskas missed one of the free-throws, but the Rakvere team were unable to get the shot off in time.
Vytautas Sulskis had a terrific night under the boards, as he scored 24 points and tore down 14 rebounds. Gytis Sirutavicius added 13 points to the total, while Sarunas Vasiliauskas was good for 10 points and 7 assists.
Janari Joesaar was incredible for Tarvas with 29 points and 9 rebounds to his name tonight, while Maksim Kovacevic added 16 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.
LIEPAJA – Liepaja/Triobet cruised to their fourth victory without any greater resistance from Jekabpils. The home team led all the way throughout the game and secured a 91-71 win.
The first fifteen minutes of basketball gave us no hints of a one-sided competition whatsoever, as Liepaja were up by just one point.
Nevertheless, the outcome of the game was already decided before halftime, as the visitors were outscored 20-3 in just three minutes of play. The two sides entered halftime separated by 17 points.
It only got worse from there on for Jekabpils and the margin grew to 27 points after the third quarter. It was all settled way before the final buzzer, but that didn‘t stop Liepaja from trying to reach as high a score as possible.
Just as the deficit reached game-high 31 points, Jekabpils mounted a 13-0 run to make the loss seem a bit more appropriate.
Kristopher Richard was one of five players in double-digit scoring for the home side, as he tallied 17 points. Zack Stephan added a solid double-double of 15 points and 13 boards, while Mikus Sokolovs and Toms Leimanis ended the game with 13 apiece. Arnolds Helmanis finished the game with 11 points.
Davis Gutmanis and Tyler Larson were the two leaders for Jekabpils, as they scored 18 each, while the latter also secured 10 rebounds. Modestas Kumpys added 12 points, while Arturs Duselis finished up with 10.
TALLINN – TLU Kalev finally managed to secure their first victory, as a third-quarter surge helped them defeat Group A rivals Nevezis 82-74.
The Estonian team was very solid in the opening minutes and already looked at a ten point advantage halfway through the first quarter.
The double-digit lead didn’t stand for long, though, as Nevezis cut the deficit to just four by the end of the quarter. By halftime, the tables had turned and it was now the Lithuanians with the 4-point advantage.
It was once again TLU Kalev in the driver’s seat after the halftime break, as they erased the deficit and with the help of a 19-2 run, rushed to a double-digit lead.
The Estonians managed to keep hold of the lead and were still up ahead by ten with less than two minutes remaining. However, a couple of bad turnovers helped Nevezis get back in the game and with 45 seconds to go, it was just a five-point margin.
While the Lithuanians had a chance to cut even deeper into the deficit, their long-range shot was no good and TLU Kalev celebrated their first victory.
Johnny Berhanemeskel was impressive with 27 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists for the victors, while Zachary Atkinson chupped in with 16 points and 8 boards. Kaido Saks and Reimo Tamm finished the game with 12 points each.
Vaidotas Volkus was the top scorer for Nevezis, as he tallied 21 points and 7 rebounds. Darius Gvezdauskas added 18 points to the tally, while Mindaugas Kupsas secured a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds. Saah Nimley finished the game with 10 points to his name.
There was no match for Andrew Warren in Triobet BBL this month, as the Port of Parnu guard picked up the first monthly Most Valuable Player award after lighting the league on fire with stellar play in October.
In the two games he played, the 28-year-old American put up great numbers across the board and made an impact on both ends of the floor, averaging 29 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2 assists and 5 steals per game.
His best performance came against Valmiera/ORDO, when the player scored 32 points on 12-of-16 shooting from the field, grabbed five rebounds and dished out three assists, while turning the ball over only two times.
Although Port of Parnu is still searching for its first victory of the season in Triobet BBL, both of the losses so far came against Group A favorites Valmiera/ORDO and Lietkabelis.
Warren will be presented with the award on November 10th in a home game against TLU Kalev, where the hosts will certainly have their sights set on opening their win tally.