SIAULIAI ‒ Siauliai continued an impressive BBL season with a 91-82 victory against Barsy in a Group B clash on Saturday evening, improving to a 7-1 record.
It was the last regular season game for Barsy, who finished the first stage of the competition with a 5-7 mark, which guarantees them a spot in the playoffs.
Siauliai broke away to a 20-7 lead already in the first quarter after David McClure concluded a 10-0 spurt for the home side with a jumper of his own.
Although Barsy had got as close as two points in the second period, Siauliai managed to restore the double-digit advantage with a 6-0 run to finish the half.
The hosts were clearly the better side in the third quarter as well, leading by as many as 20 points on several occasions and entering the final period with a 69-51 lead.
Barsy did not want to give up easily, though. The visitors from Kazakhstan scraped the deficit to 10 points within a couple of minutes, and continuing to pile pressure on Siauliai.
With 1:23 remaining, the guests got within 78-84 as Fredrick Zambalist contributed seven points to an 8-0 run by Barsy, but David McClure stopped the run, allowing the home side to take another win.
Rokas Giedraitis and Chris Cooper scored 16 points apiece, while Vytas Sulskis finished the game with 15 points and six rebounds for Siauliai.
Fredrick Zambalist had his best game of the season for Barsy, collecting a game-high 28 points to go along five rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Mikhail Yevstigneev scored 15 points and grabbed six boards, as Lukas Brazdauskis chipped in with 12 points.
TARTU ‒ TU/Rock won their fifth game at home in a row, registering an 88-62 victory against Group C rivals Caspiy on Saturday evening.
The Tartu club is currently third in the group with a 6-4 record, while Caspiy is battling for a place in the playoffs and is currently only 2-7.
TU/Rock answered all questions already in the first half after a superb second quarter, which the hosts won 30-11, behind terrific play by Vincent Simpson.
Having established a 46-24 advantage at the half, the hosts held Caspiy at arm’s length throughout the third and fourth quarters, as they took an easy win.
Vincent Simpson paced TU/Rock with 25 points, Janar Talts added 16 points and seven rebounds, while Augustas Peciukevicius chipped in with 11 points.
For the visiting side, Kris Richard had a team-high 13 points, while Vadim Chsherbak scored 11.
NORRKOPING ‒ Dolphins improved to a 6-3 record in Group A, with a 63-53 victory against the visiting Valmiera at home in Sweden on Friday evening.
In a low-scoring first quarter, the hosts pulled away to a 12-5 lead after Kendrick Brown’s lay-up, but Ivars Zvigurs finished the quarter with a jumper to cut the deficit to five points.
Valmiera had managed to tie the game in the second period, but Dolphins restored a slight edged at halftime, going into the break with a 29-26 advantage.
The Swedes stayed in front in throughout the third quarter as well, increasing the gap to 47-40 before the start of the final period.
After scoring four points in a row to start the fourth period, Dolphins jumped ahead to a double-digit lead at 51-41.
With four minute remaining, Valmiera got within six points (50-56) after a three-pointer by Maris Ziedins. However, a three-minute scoreless stretch by the Latvians gave Dolphins some breathing room.
Kendrick Brown increased the gap to 58-50, and although Janis Kaufmanis drilled a three to cut it to five points, Joakim Kjellbom scored five points in a row to end any hopes of a comeback.
Brown paced the winners with 18 points, Joakim Kjellbom added 15 points and 13 boards, while Edgars Jeromanovs chipped in with 10 points.
Valmiera’s top-scorer Janis Kaufmanis had 23 points, while, Maris Ziedins was the only other player in double figures with 10 points, also adding six boards.
PARNU ‒ Barsy improved to a 5-6 mark in Group B after claiming an 84-52 victory against Parnu on the road in Estonia on Wednesday evening.
The visitors pulled away already in the first quarter, taking a 20-9 lead after Donte Hill’s lay-up seven minutes into the game.
Barsy went on to finish the period with a 25-16 lead, increasing the gap to 16 points in the second quarter.
The guests from Kazakhstan went on a 14-0 spurt in the fourth quarter to pull away to a 53-26 advantage to decide the outcome of the game for good.
Mikhail Yevstigneev paced the winners with 20 points, while Donte Hill was the only scorer in double digits with 17 for Barsy.
For Parnu, Rannar Raadik scored 10 and Vladzimir Krysevich added 9 points to go with six rebounds.
TARTU – A couple days after their worst loss of the season, TU/Rock returned to winning ways in a spectacular manner, taking a 102-66 victory against Barons kvartals in a Group C matchup on Tuesday evening.
The loss snapped Barons kvartals’ 5-game winning streak and tied the two teams up at a 5-4 record.
Although the Latvians managed to gather a 5-point lead early on in the game, the home team set up a 12-0 run to obtain a 21-16 lead after the first quarter.
The Estonian side really gathered momentum in the second quarter and had already mounted a 15 point lead before the second half, which turned out to become a massacre.
While nothing was yet set in stone after the first two quarters, TU/Rock made sure the fourth would be merely a formality. They went on to a 19-4 run to start off the fourth quarter and jumped up ahead by 30. By the time the quarter ended, the Latvians were already down by a shameful 39 points.
Timo Eichfuss was the leading scorer for the team from Tartu, as he collected 22 points. Vincent Simpson added 15 points, Tanel Kurbas contributed 14, while Kent-Kaarel Vene and Valmo Kriisa finished the game with 9 points each.
Harijs Rubenis was the only player in double digits for Barons kvartals with 14 points. Ilmars Bergmanis scored 8, while Agnis Cavars ended the game with 7.
After two weeks of absence, the Baltic Basketball League (BBL) is back. So is the BBL weekly review, which will provide fans with the opportunity to quickly overlook all the main events and spectacular performances that took place in the league over the past week.
MVP. Joakim Kjellbom became the last monthly MVP of 2013, as the 34-year-old Swedish big man was chosen as the Most Valuable Player for the month of December. The center averaged 16.7 points, 10 rebounds and 3.3 blocks throughout the month and helped his team to three convincing victories.
UNBEATABLE. Pieno Zvaigzdes continue their successful run in the BBL, as they knocked down Tartu Rock to make it their eighth straight victory.
WINLESS. While Pasvalys keeps on racking up victories, Valga Maks&Moorits’ struggles continue. The Estonians lost seven games by an average margin of 24 points.
RECORD. Just days into 2014, a new season record for most turnovers was reached. In Tyco Rapla’s shameful loss against Jekabpils, the Estonians turned the ball over 29 times.
SCORER. Janis Kaufmanis dropped 30 points for the second time this season and is comfortably sitting atop the scoring charts with an average of 18 points per game. Despite his tremendous scoring outbursts, Kaufmanis stands only 32nd when it comes to efficiency.
OVERTIME. The first overtime of the year was registered in Estonia, where Tarvas upset Norrkoping Dolphins, pleasing the home crowd with a 84-80 victory.
COSTLY MISTAKE. With 29 seconds to play, Juventus still had a one-point lead and the possession of the ball. However, Aidas Viskontas turned the ball over and Prienai made sure to cash in.
On top of the weekly Top Five stands Juventus forward Saulius Kulvietis. In the loss against Tonybet Prienai the Lithuanian scored 22 points and tore down 8 rebounds, amassing 26 ranking points.
Troy Barnies of Jekabpils finishes the week in second place with two spectacular performances. The forward averaged a double-double in 21 points and 10.5 rebounds.
Laimonas Kisielius converted on five three-pointers to help Prienai to a fourth quarter comeback. Kisielius totaled 23 points and 25 ranking points.
Lietkabelis’ center Ryan Olander ends up fourth in the top five after a 25-point outburst against Barsy Atyrau. Despite his input, Lietkabelis suffered a heartbreaking loss, after Edgaras Zelionis’ game-winner.
The only guard in this list - Edgars Jeromanovs – closes up the five with a 19 point and 9 rebound performance against Tarvas.
TALLINN ‒ A day after defeating one of Group A front-runners Dolphins, Tarvas slumped to a 73-75 defeat in the hands of Tallinna Kalev, who improved to a 3-5 mark following the win.
The club from the Estonian capital came out of the gates red-hot, as they ran away to an early 11-2 advantage in the first five minutes of the game.
Although Tarvas responded with an 9-0 run to tie it all at 11-11, Tallinna Kalev shot ahead once again, finishing the period with a double-digit lead at 25-15.
However, things turned around dramatically in the second quarter, with the Rakvere club turning things around and ending the first half with a 43-37 edge after winning the period by 16 points.
In a game full of ups-and-downs, the third quarter saw Tallinn Kalev take the initiative once again, overtaking Tarvas for a 60-59 lead before the final period.
With 3:51 played in the final period, Kristo Saage nailed a three-pointer to send the side from Rakvere in front again, but it was the last time the visitors had the lead.
Reimo Tamm scored five points in a row against his former team and Ilimar Pilk added a basket as well to make it 73-67 with 2:21 left in the game.
Although Mihkel Kurg had cut Tarvas’ deficit to two points with 36 seconds remaining and Mario Paiste missed both free-throws, Kristo Saage’s long-range shot missed, giving Tallinna Kalev an important win.
Asenso Ampim had a team-high 20 points and 11 rebounds for the winners, Reimo Tamm collected 18 points and drew eight fouls, while Raido Ross added 13 points.
For Tarvas, Kristo Saage finished the evening with 21 points, Giedrius Gustas scored 14 points, with no other players reaching double digits on the visitors’ roster.
JEKABPILS ‒ Valmiera improved to a 4-3 record in Group A after a 79-73 road victory against Jekabpils, who dropped to 4-4, on Sunday.
Valmiera got off to a storming start, taking a double-digit lead already halfway through the first quarter (14-4) and finishing it with a 22-10 advantage.
Having kept the 12-point margin in the second quarter, the visitors began to struggle after the halftime break, with Jekabpils eating into the double with a 10-0 run late in the third period to get within 49-50.
Despite losing the double-digit advantage, Valmiera managed to stay in front, but the Troy Barnies-led Jekabpils stayed close, trailing only 60-61 with five minutes left in the game.
With just over a minute on the clock, the hosts were down only by two points, but a three-pointer by Janis Kaufmanis increased the gap to 73-68, giving the visitors the final push towards the victory.
Janis Kaufmanis paced Valmiera with 30 points, Viktors Iljins scored 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while Raimonds Gabrans scored 10 points.
Troy Barnies had a team-high 23 points and added nine rebounds for Jekabpils, Cameron Runders had 12 points, while Pavels Veselovs chipped in with 11 points.
LIEPAJA ‒ Liepaja/Triobet got the second win of the season, as they defeated Parnu 70-64 in a Group B outsider clash in Latvia on Sunday evening.
The home side got a much needed boost in the standings, rising to fifth place with a 2-5 record, while Parnu dropped to 1-6.
Liepaja led from start to finish, taking a 19-12 lead in the first quarter and never letting go, although Parnu stayed relatively close.
The gap reached double digits in the second quarter after Roberts Freimanis converted on a lay-up to make it 32-22 and the hosts went on to carry over the 10-point lead into the second half.
Liepaja’s lead had grown to 15 points (55-40) in the third period, but Parnu cut it to single single digits in the fourth quarter, but Mareks Jurevicus and Renars Magone stopped their run at 67-62, as the hosts came out victorious.
Jurevicus had a game-high 17 points for the winners, also adding eight rebounds and five assists, Kristaps Miglinieks collected 15 points, while Roberts Freimanis finished the game with 11 points and nine boards.
Nemanja Miljkovic led Parnu in scoring with 13 points, with Heiko Rannula and Rannar Raap adding 11 points apiece.
PANEVEZYS ‒ Gytis Sirutavicius and Edgaras Zelionis scored two clutch baskets for Barsy, as the Kazakh side snatched an 82-81 victory in Panevezys against the struggling Lietkabelis.
The visitors from Atyrau are now 4-6 in Group B, while the Lithuanians have won only once in eight games, but still have hopes of reaching the quarterfinals.
Lietkabelis started the game strong, going on a 6-0 run right from the tip-off and keeping the lead for the majority of the first quarter, but Barsy weren’t too far behind.
Having scored six points in a row in the beginning of the second quarter, the Kazakhs took a 37-32 advantage, increasing it to 46-36 after a pair of buckets by Dmitriy Gavrilov.
However, Lietkabelis snuck ahead by a single point just before halftime with an 11-0 run, heading into the locker rooms with a 47-46 advantage.
Behind great play from big man Ryan Olander, the hosts led by as many as seven points in the third quarter, but Barsy raced back from behind to tie it at 66-66 after 30 minutes of play.
The visitors had the upper hand for most of the third quarter, but Lietkabelis’ newcomer Goran Vrbanc drained a three-pointer and Mantas Virbalas added two more points for an 81-77 advantage with 1:26 left to play.
However, it was Barsy, who had the last word in the game ‒ Gytis Sirutavicius made it a one-point game with a triple in the next possession, while Edgaras Zelionis made the game-winning basket with 16 seconds left.
Sirutavicius had a game-high 25 points for the winners, Zelionis scored 16 points and grabbed eight boards, while Donte Hill added 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
For Lietkabelis, Ryan Olander had 25 points, but grabbed only two rebounds in 33 minutes, while talented guard Jokubas Gintvainis flirted with a double-double finishing the game with 13 points and seven assists.