TARTU ‒ TU/Rock made the first step towards bronze medals in the Baltic Basketball League, edging the visiting Tampere Pyrinto 75-62 at home in Tartu on Friday evening.
Having completed half of the task, the Estonian side will attempt to finish the deal on Sunday in Tampere, where will be able to afford a loss of up to 12 points.
The usually high-scoring Pyrinto got off to a good start, going up 22-19 after the first quarter of play, but their offense got into a slump and TU/Rock passed them in the second period.
Trailing 26-21, the Tartu club outscored Pyrinto 15-3 in the final seven minutes of the half and headed into the break with a 36-29 advantage of their own.
After a solid third quarter, TU/Rock’s advantage increased to 58-44, with Vilmantas Dilys and Vincent Simpson accounting for more than half of the Estonian team’s points.
Although the hosts scored only two points in the first five minutes of the first quarter, Pyrinto did not take full advantage of it, scoring only two baskets themselves.
However, the Tampere side did manage to scale down the deficit to 10 points, but a three-pointer by Janar Talts in the last seconds of the game increased the gap to 13 points.
Vincent Simpson had a game-high 20 points for TU/Rock, Vilmantas Dilys collected a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Janar Talts added 11 points.
Benjamin Raymond finished the game with 17 points and 10 rebounds, Damon Williams scored 16 and grabbed seven boards, while Kelvin Lewis chipped in with 11 points.
Viasat Sport Baltic viewers will have a chance to watch the last game of the Baltic Basketball League season, as Pyrinto welcome TU/Rock in Tampere in the second leg of the battle for bronze medals.
The game is set to tip off at 17:00, but the broadcast on Viasat Sport Baltic is scheduled to start at around 17:45, immediately after the end of the football game between Liverpool and Manchester City.
TU/Rock won the first meeting between the sides 75-62 and can afford to lose by as many as 12 points in the second game and still finish third in the BBL.
SIAULIAI – Siauliai started the BBL Finals on the right note, taking a 62-57 victory against TonyBet at home and will have a five-point advantage before the trip to Prienai on Saturday.
The hosts started the game better, running away to a 19-10 advantage after Julius Jucikas and Rokas Giedraitis connected for an alley-oop, capping off a 6-0 run at the end of the first quarter.
Derek Needham, who was orchestrating his team’s game well in the first two quarters, had extended Siauliai’s lead to 28-18, but Prienai cut the gap to 30-23 by the end of the first half.
After a successful start of the third period, TonyBet got within 36-33 after Mindaugas Lukauskis swished in a corner three-pointer, but Travis Leslie responded with a long-range shot of his own on the other end.
The game took an interesting turn when TonyBet’s coach Virginijus Seskus decided to go to a small line-up, playing with Arvydas Siksnius at the center position.
The change of tactics paid dividends instantly, with Siksnius tying the score at 46-all with a long-range attempt before nailing another one to put Prienai up by three.
With a 1:18 left on the clock TonyBet were still leading 57-56, but baskets by Derek Needham and Travis Leslie put Siauliai ahead, while Darius Pakamanis sealed the win from the free-throw line.
Leslie paced the winners with 16 points and seven rebounds, Rokas Giedraitis scored 10, while Derek Needham collected nine points.
For TonyBet, Mindaugas Lukauskis had 18 points and four assists, Arvydas Siksnius finished the game with 10 points, while Zygimantas Janavicius chipped in with eight points.
PRIENAI ‒ TonyBet will have a chance to add more silverware to the club’s trophy cabinet, as the Lithuanian Cup winners registered an 82-71 victory against TU/Rock in the second leg of the semi-final and made it through to the BBL Finals.
It will be an all-Lithuanian affair, as the team from Prienai is set to face the in-form Siauliai, who defeated Pyrinto in the other semi-final. TU/Rock and Pyrinto will play for third place.
Having won the first leg in Estonia by a single point, TonyBet broke away already in the first quarter, going on an 8-0 run to go up 16-9 five minutes into the game before increasing the gap to double digits.
The hosts led by as many as 15 points in the second quarter, but a good stretch to end the first half by TU/Rock restored a single-digit deficit, with nine points separating the sides at the interval.
However, Prienai jumped ahead by double figures once again after the game resumed and finished the third quarter with a 61-48 edge, before easing to a comfortable win in the final frame.
Zygimantas Janavicius, Gintaras Kadziulis, Vaidas Cepukaitis and Mindaugas Lukauskis all collected 15 points apiece for TonyBet.
For TU/Rock, Vilmantas Dilys finished with a game-high 20 points, Valmo Kriisa scored 14, while Janar Talts chipped in with 10 points and 8 boards.
TAMPERE ‒ The first spot in the BBL Finals was notched by Siauliai, who celebrated a 85-75 victory against Pyrinto on the road in Finland to win the second leg of the tie as well.
The Lithuanian side, who had won the first meeting in Siauliai by a single point, will now face the winner of Tonybet and TU/Rock pair, while Pyrinto will play for third place.
The game seemed to be going an entirely different direction in the first quarter, as the hosts got off to a 12-4 start, with Antero Lehto’s scoring pacing Pyrinto early on.
The Finnish side led by as many as nine points in the second period (25-16), but Siauliai finished the half strong and entered the break with a 38-35 advantage.
The second half was a completely different story with Travis Leslie and Vytas Sulskis leading the visitors to a 59-50 lead before the final frame.
Rokas Giedraitis pushed the gap to double digits with a lay-up, while Leslie added a three-pointer on the next possession to increase it to 64-50, as Siauliai cruised to a convincing victory after a strong second-half performance.
Giedraitis and Leslie finished the game with a team-high 18 points each for Siauliai, with the latter also grabbing nine rebounds, while Sulskis collected 13 points and five assists.
Benjamin Raymond and Antero Lehto carried the scoring load for Pyrinto, scoring 21 and 16 points respectively, while Kelvin Lewis added nine points.
TARTU ‒ Despite missing two key players in Laimonas Kisielius and Arvydas Siksnius, Tonybet snuck away with an 68-66 victory against TU/Rock in the first leg of the semi-final tie after Mindaugas Lukauskis scored a last-second lay-up.
In a close game, neither side managed to establish their superiority early on, but the Prienai team went on a 13-4 run in the beginning of the second quarter to gain a game-high eight-point lead at 31-23.
However, TU/Rock answered with seven points in a row and evened the game out, entering the second half only with a 41-38 deficit. Prienai led for the majority of third and fourth quarter, but it was never by more than a couple of baskets.
With 56 seconds remaining, Augustas Peciukevicius buried a three-pointer to tie things up at 66-all. Although the game seemed likely to end in a tie, Mindaugas Lukauskis had other ideas, giving Prienai a two-point lead just before the buzzer.
Lukauskis finished the game with a game-high 23 points and five assists, Arturas Valeika had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Martynas Linkevicius chipped in with 12 points.
For TU/Rock, Vilmantas Dilys collected 12 points and eight rebounds, with Vincent Simpson and Augustas Peciukevicius finished the game with 10 points and five assists. each.
SIAULIAI ‒ Five players scored in double figures for Siauliai, as the Lithuanian side started the BBL Semi-Finals with an 82-81 victory against the visiting Pyrinto in the first leg of the tie on Monday evening.
The one-point advantage won’t give Siauliai much security ahead of the second meeting between the sides in two days time in Tampere, with the tie still very much a toss-up.
Both sides started red-hot from beyond the three-point arc, both making four of their first six attempts from long range, as Siauliai finished the opening period with a 29-25 lead.
The hosts increased the gap to 46-40 at the halftime break, with newcomer Bambale Osby performing well and providing the Lithuanian side a much-needed inside presence.
Siauliai led by as many as nine points in the second half, but Pyrinto’s go-to duo of Kelvin Lewis and Benjamin Raymond made sure to keep the Finns within reach of their opponents.
A pair of free-throws by Travis Leslie had increased the home side’s advantage to 82-78 with only a couple seconds to spare, but a three-pointer by Yannick Anzuluni just before the horn cut it to one point.
Arnas Labuckas paced the winners with 16 points, while Vytas Sulskis, Travis Leslie and Bambale Osby all finished with 13 points apiece.
For Pyrinto, Kelvin Lewis had a game-high 21 points, Antero Lehto scored 17, while Benjamin Raymond chipped in with 16 points and five rebounds.
Only a couple of weeks remain in the Baltic Basketball League’s (BBL) schedule, as we just stepped past the quarterfinals. The BBL rounds up the most impressive performances and most memorable events of the quarterfinals.
PASVALYS ‒ Pieno Zvaigzdes weren’t able to dig themselves out of the whole in the second Quarter-Final game against TU/Rock, with the Estonian side snatching the last spot in the Semi-Finals after a 52-50 victory.
The Tartu side, who will face Tonybet Prienai in the next round, had won the first leg of the tie by 13 points as well.
In a low-scoring first half, neither side managed to pull away with TU/Rock entering the halftime break with a small 27-24 advantage after leading most of the way.
However the small gap soon evaporated, as a jump shot by Egidijus Dimsa put the Pieno Zvaigzdes ahead 34-32 midway through the third quarter. Although the visitors had temporarily regained the lead, the Lithuanians began the final frame with a 41-40 edge.
With five minutes remaining, the hosts led 45-42 after Arturas Jomantas scored a bucket, but Augustas Peciukevicius answered with an and-one on the other end. Shortly after, a three-pointer by Peciukevicius gave TU/Rock the advantage.
Although Pieno Zvaigzdes had tied the score at 50-all, Janar Talts broke the deadlock to give Gert Kullamae’s team another win.
Vincent Simpson scored a game-high 15 points for TU/Rock, while Augustas Peciukevicius added 12 points and six rebounds, with no other player reaching double figures for the visitors.
Big man Egidijus Dimsa led the hosts in scoring, dropping 14 points on his former team, while Arturas Jomantas and Zygimantas Jonusas contributed with 11 and 8 points respectively.
VENTSPILS ‒ The defending BBL champions Ventspils will have to let go of their crown after being knocked out by Lithuanian side Siauliai in the Quarter-Final round, despite taking a 71-68 victory in the second leg of the tie at home in Ventspils on Saturday evening.
The Latvians could not overcome the six-point deficit they accumulated on the road, despite leading by as many as nine points in the second half. Siauliai will meet Pyrinto in the semi-final.
Ventspils entered the second half with a favorable 47-40 advantage and a one-point lead on aggregate and increased the gap to nine after Janis Timma threw down a dunk to start the third quarter.
However, spurred on by a couple of three-pointers from Rokas Giedraitis and Travis Leslie, Siauliai came back to cut the deficit to 56-55 before the final period.
With five minutes remaining in the game, Harvey Grant’s lay-up made it 68-62 for Ventspils, which would’ve been enough to force overtime, but a couple of timely baskets from Derek Needham saw Siauliai hold on to their first-leg lead.
Needham finished the game with a game-high 18 points, Travis Leslie scored 16 points and added six boards, while Vytas Sulskis had 11 points for Siauliai.
Meanwhile, Ronalds Zakis led the hosts with 14 points, Harvey Grant scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds, with Akselis Vairogs contributing with 10 points.