Juventus return to winning form in Rakvere

09.12.2014

RAKVERE – After slipping up in Liepaja last week, Juventus returned to winning ways against Tarvas, as they fought out a tough 88-82 (23-19; 19-14; 22-29; 24-20) victory over the Estonians in Tuesday’s only match-up.

Juventus climbed right back on top of Group C with this victory, as they are now accompanied by a 5-1 record. Tarvas dropped to a 5-3 record.

Juventus were on the outside looking for the most of the first quarter, as the hosts quickly mounted a two-possession lead. However, an 8-0 run turned it all around and the Lithuanian side ended up ahead 23-13 after the initial ten minutes.

The visitors finally reached their first double-digit lead of the game couple of minutes inside the second period and held on to the solid advantage for the rest of the quarter.

However, Tarvas were back in the race soon after halftime, as the lead dwindled down to just one midway through the third quarter. The margin then rose to seven but before the final ten minutes, only two points separated the opponents.

Another 8-0 run by the Utena side to start off the quarter was the key to victory, as Tarvas could not get back into the game.

Rashaun Broadus led the team in scoring with 19 points to his name. Arvydas Siksnius and Edgaras Stanionis scored respectively 18 and 17 points, as they also grabbed 6 rebounds apiece. Valdas Dabkus had the game’s only double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Vaidas Cepukaitis ended the game with 10 points and 7 rebounds.

Brandis Raley Ross was incredible for Tarvas, but apparently even his 28 points and 5 rebounds and 3 steals couldn’t do the trick. David Haughton added 17 points and 7 rebounds, while Juris Umbrasko chipped in with 13 points and 6 rebounds.

BBL Weekly Review: Volume 8

06.12.2014

The winter has brought us a handful of outrageous performances and a couple new records to go alongside. Let’s round it all out with the eighth volume of the BBL Weekly Review!

MVP. Rolands Freimanis was chosen the MVP for the month of November after he averaged 19 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in two Kalev/Cramo victories.

RECORD. Lietkabelis set records in scoring in nearly all possible categories against TTU. The Lithuanians had the highest scoring in a single quarter (36), a half (66) and in a game as a whole (116). They also had the highest number of ranking points with 157.

RECORD II. To make that even more impressive, Lietkabelis were rock-solid on defense, as they allowed their opponents to score only 54 points, which helped them achieve a victory by 62 points – the best result in the league.

ATTENDENCE. Although it is said that Lithuania is the land of basketball, only one of the top five teams in attendance is Lithuanian. Atop the charts stand Valmiera,  Kalev/Cramo and Juventus, representing all three Baltic states. All these three teams attract over a thousand fans every game, while the two bottom clubs TLU Kalev and Prienai barely get 70 fans a game.

RUNS. It’s safe to say that Lietkabelis was the most dominant side this week and it’s no surprise they hold the biggest run this week. An 18-0 stretch in the first frame of their game helped the Lithuanians amass a 22-point lead early on en route to their record-breaking victory.

NO DEFENSE. Once again TTU steals the spotlights, as their defense proved worthless. The Estonian club suffered two losses this week by an average margin of 53.5 points, as their opponents averaged 114.5 points per game.

Brandis Raley Ross showcased tremendous skills in his game against Dynamo Moscow and becomes the weekly MVP. The Tarvas guard scored 35 points, tore down 5 rebounds and dished out 5 assists to amass 32 ranking points.

Evaldas Zabas was not far behind him with his efficient 20-point, 6-rebounds and 7-assist performance against TTU, when he racked up 31 ranking points.

Domantas Seskus makes his Top 5 debut with a 28-ranking point performance. The Lithuanian scored 21 points, corralled 6 rebounds and distributed 4 assists in his team’s victory.

The Latvian basketball spotlight shone on Kaspars Kambala once again, as he delivered a terrific performance against Pasvalys. The big man scored season-high 29 points and added 6 rebounds to the 27 ranking point total.

Dominykas Milka, the third Prienai player on the list, closes out this week’s Top 5 performers with his 17 points and 8 rebounds against the aforementioned TTU.

TTU wrecked in Prienai

04.12.2014

PRIENAI – Prienai had no trouble defending home grounds against TTU, as they battered their opponents in the 113-68 (20-18; 31-20; 34-12; 28-18) blow-out in the only match-up of Thursday evening.

Prienai are making strides to move out from the bottom of Group B, winning their last three games to make it a 3-3 record. The Estonians have recently been having problems finding a route to victory, as they’ve dropped their four last outings and hold a 2-6 record.

Only the first quarter proved to be competitive, as the two sides went back and forth for the initial ten minutes.

However, it all changed in the second frame, as Prienai began their dominance by slowly building up a double-digit lead.

It just got worse after the break, when the Lithuanians just manhandled TTU, winning the third quarter by 22 points. As 35 points separated the two sides, the final ten minutes were merely a formality and Prienai advanced to their biggest victory this season.

Domantas Seskus had an outstanding game, as he scored 21 points and tore down 6 rebounds. Vidmantas Sragauskis added six three-pointers to reach 18 points, while Dominykas Milka finished the game with 17 points and 8 rebounds. Ovidijus Varanauskas scored 15 points and dished out 8 assists, Arnas Labuckas chipped in with 14 points, while Giedrius Staniulis had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Kristjan Makke and Joonas Jarvelainen scored 15 points each for TTU, while Kiur Akenparg and Mooses Kaja scored respectively 12 and 10 points, as the latter also recorded 9 rebounds.

TLU's woes continue against Valga

03.12.2014

TALLINN – TLU Kalev’s struggles continue, as they were forced to their seventh defeat against Valga Maks ja Moorits, who managed to steal away an 81-66 (12-14; 22-16; 26-20; 21-16) away victory.

Valga’s recent improvement in form has helped them to a split 4-4 record, while TLU is at the bottom of Group B with only one victory in eight games.

The first frame of the game was as close as ever, as the two sides were separated by no more than two points.

Valga found a way to jump ahead in the middle of the second period, as they rushed ahead by eight. However, their opponents were soon breathing down their necks. At halftime Maks ja Moorits held a 4-point advantage.

Little by little, the visitors gathered a tangible lead in the third quarter and entered the final quarter with 10 points to spare. TLU did not pose a greater threat in the final ten minutes and Maks ja Moorits coasted to the victory.

Reinis Strupovics led Valga in scoring with 24 points. Jurijs Aleksejevs was solid with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Edgars Krumins chipped in with 14 points.

Ivar Tulit was the key man for TLU, as he scored 18 points. Reimo Tamm added 16, while Robertas Grabauskas ended the game with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Tarvas snap Dynamo's successful streak

03.12.2014

RAKVERE – Brandis Raley Ross delivered a beat-down to the Russian visitors, as the hosts Tarvas snapped Dynamo Moscow’s two win run with an 87-81 (25-19; 27-24; 21-19; 14-19) victory on Wednesday evening.

Tarvas and Dynamo now have opposite win-loss records, as the Estonian club holds five victories and two losses, while the Russians have won two games and lost five.

Tarvas took initiative from the get-go, as they amassed a double-digit lead just halfway through the first quarter. While their opponents managed to cut it down to six, Tarvas looked a step faster in most situations.

The margin hovered around five points throughout the second quarter, but the Estonians finished out the quarter on a higher note and pushed the margin to nine – 52-43.

Tarvas had already jumped ahead by twelve at the beginning of the second half, but the visitors fought back and slowly trimmed it down to just three. Nevertheless, Brandis Raley Ross had the final say at the end of the quarter, as he willed his team to an 11-1 run.

Ross’ show continued in the fourth period, as he helped increase the margin to fifteen and, as it seemed, decided the outcome of the game. However, all was not over – Dynamo Moscow set up a 15-2 run and cut the lead down to just two. Ultimately, the Estonians played out the final minutes with colder heads and ended up on top.

The aforementioned Ross was responsible for 35 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, while Sten-Timmu Sokk added respectively 13, 5 and 4. Mario Paiste and Juris Umbrasko both had 11 points, while the latter also chipped in with 12 rebounds.

For the losing side Tyshawn Taylor was the top scorer. The American scored 23 points, added 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Serdar Annaev contributed 13 points, Alexey Kuznetsov scored 12, while both Gleb Goldyrev and Evgeny Karpeko finished the game with 11 points each.

Jekabpils outlast Valmiera

03.12.2014

JEKABPILS – The home side Jekabpils celebrated an important victory against fellow Latvians Valmiera, as they finally caught up in the standings after the 78-67 (21-19; 12-19; 20-14; 25-15) win.

Both teams now hold the same record of five victories and two losses.

The two sides kept exchanging leads in the first frame and neither of the two Latvian clubs could get ahold of a tangible lead. However, the game shifted in the second frame, as Valmiera took matters into their own hands and jumped ahead. Nevertheless, all they could build before halftime was a slippery five-point advantage.

The visitors couldn’t hang on to the lead for a long time though and the leading team kept changing throughout the whole third quarter.

Jekabpils finally pushed ahead only in the fourth period, as they converted solid defense into good offense and rushed ahead to take a double-digit victory.

Martins Kravcenko and Pavels Veselovs were the two top-scorers for Jekabpils, as they tallied 17 each. Rihards Kuksiks added 15, while Povilas Cukinas ended the game with 10 points.

Justin Hurt was the game’s highest scorer with 25 points. William Spencer added 9, while Matiss Rudmiezis ended the game with 7.

Bricis wins it for Barons/LDz in Pasvalys

03.12.2014

PASVALYS – Barons/LDz overcame a fourth quarter double-digit deficit and rose above Pieno zvaigzdes in thrilling fashion. The Latvians nailed a last-second three-point attempt and celebrated a narrow 74-73 (20-17; 17-16; 8-23; 29-17) victory.

The win allowed Barons/LDz to equal their record at 3-3, while Pasvalys lost just for the second time in seven games.

Pieno zvaigzdes were the first ones to jump ahead with a 5-0 start, but the Latvians soon responded and the two sides went neck to neck for the rest of the quarter.

In the second frame, the sides changed roles and Barons/LDz were in the leading position. But, once again, the game evened out before the end of the quarter.

The second half started with an 11-0 run by the hosts, as they jumped ahead by seven. By the time the third period ended, Pasvalys already held an 11-point advantage.

The visitors went speeding back in the final quarter. They slowly cut down on the margin, but with only 30 seconds, were still down by six points. In 20 seconds, they had cut the lead to just one and immediately fouled Gytis Sirutavicius, who converted on only one of his free-throws.

Baronas/LDz then dribbled down the court and attempted a contested, off-balance three-pointer which found the net and gave them the victory.

Kaspars Kambalahad a monstrous game, as he scored 29 points and added 6 rebounds. Ernests Kalve contributed a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Nauris Miezis ended the game with 10.

Five players were in double-digit scoring for Pieno zvaigzdes. Osvaldas Olisevicius led the way with 13 points, Kyle La Monte chipped in with 12, while both Laimonas Kisielius and Alexander Oriakhi finished with 11 points apiece. Augustinas Jankaitis had 10 points to his name.

TTU trampled on Lietkabelis' record night

03.12.2014

PANEVEZYS – Lietkabelis continue to impress with their top form in the Baltic Basketball League, as they set a handful of new records with their 116-54 (30-8; 36-28; 23-8; 27-10) victory against TTU.

Having won four games in a row, Lietkabelis now hold a 6-2 record, while the loss moved TTU to a 2-5 record.

It was clear that the game wouldn’t be close already in the first quarter, when Lietkabelis used a 15-0 run to leave TTU far behind. Before the quarter ended the lead had grown even more and already reached an astonishing 22 points.

TTU could not recover from this knock-down punch and the margin just kept on growing before it reached 30 points at halftime.

Clearly, the game was already out of reach, but Lietkabelis kept on pushing and added another 15 points to their lead in the third quarter. Although it seemed thing couldn’t get much worse, TTU allowed the Lithuanians to dominate the final quarter as well and it resulted in a loss by 62 points for the visitors.

Every single player in the Lietkabelis line-up managed to get on the score-sheet. Evaldas Zabas led the team with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists, while 19-year-olds Lukas Aukstikalnis and Gediminas Zalalis chipped in with 16 apiece, with the latter also contributing 8 rebounds. Zygimantas Jonusas was also in double-digit scoring with 15 points to his name. Jurica Zuza and Darius Griskenas ended the game with 9 to their names.

For the losing side, Kristjan Makke and Joonas Jarvelainen ended the game with 14 points each, while Priidik Ulp assisted them with 12 points.

Dynamo Moscow win in Rapla

02.12.2014

RAPLA – Dynamo Moscow took their second victory in Rapla, as they barely escaped with a 66-64 (20-18; 12-11; 15-16; 19-19) victory in the Group C clash.

Dynamo now have two victories in six games, while Rapla dropped to a 3-4 record.

For most of the quarter, it was the Russians with the lead, but they found no luck trying to get away from their opponents. For the remainder of the half, Dynamo were in front, but their lead jumped no higher than five points.

It wasn’t until the middle of the third period that Rapla finally jumped ahead. Only for a moment though, as Dynamo responded with a small run of their own. Two points separated the teams before the final quarter.

The Russian side gradually built up a solid lead throughout the quarter and with two minutes on the clock, they were up by eight. Nevertheless, Rait-Riivo Laane drained a three-pointer, Gleb Goldyrev missed his free-throws and in a minute the lead was cut down to just one.

Ernestas Ezerskis made a turnover handling the ball, but recovered with a three-pointer that once again pulled Rapla within one point. The visitors then made good of all their free-throws and celebrated an important victory.

Alexey Kuznetsov led the winning side with 11 points, while Vladislav Trushkin was the only other player in double-digit scoring for Dynamo with 10 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Evgeny Karpeko ended the game with 9 points and 9 boards.

Three players were responsible for the lion’s share of points for Tyco Rapla. Ernestas Ezerskis led the way with 21 points and 5 assists, Rait Keerles added 20 points, while Rait-Riivo Laane ended the game with 15 points.

Pyrinto use OT to sneak past Parnu

02.12.2014

TAMPERE – An overtime was required to settle everything between Pyrinto and Parnu, as the hosts rallied late in regulation to steal away the 92-87 (20-27; 15-17; 22-21; 22-14; 13-8) victory in Group A.

The Finns won their second game in a row and improved to a 4-5 record. Parnu, on the other hand dropped to 1-5 with the loss.

Pyrinto found themselves behind from the initial moments and were already down by seven points after the first ten minutes. The margin only grew before the break, as the Estonians managed to push it to 9.

However, Pyrinto's revival began in the second half as they slowly came creeping back. Although 8 points still separated the two sides before the last period, the Finns were finally showing signs of life.

Just halfway through the quarter, the game was already tied, but Parnu shot back ahead by five. However, a couple of bad turnovers cost the visitors the lead and allowed the hosts to extend the game for another five minutes.

In the overtime, Pyrinto had a bit more luck and used free-throws to cement their lead.

Tyrone Kent was once again impressive for Pyrinto, as he tallied 26 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals. Damon Williams chipped in with 22 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks. Alex Vaenerberg added 12 points, while Topias Palmi ended the game with 11 points.

On the other bench, the scoring was a bit more spread out. Sandis Silavs led the way with 19 points, while Silver Leppik added 18 points. Rannar Raap and Renato Lindmets had respectively 15 and 14 points, while Ronaldas Rutkauskas was a beast among the boards with 13 points and 17 rebounds.