PANEVEZYS – Lietkabelis gave the defending BBL champions Ventspils a real challenge at home in Panevezys, but the visitors from Latvia held on to take a 64-59 victory in the end.
Having improved to an 8-2 record, Ventspils caught up with current Group B leaders Nevezis, while Lietkabelis are still in the race for a playoff spot despite falling to 2-8.
Early in the fourth quarter, Ivan Nelyubov had put Lietkabelis ahead 55-54, but baskets by Lorenzo Williams and Janis Timma put Ventspils back in front.
Nelyubov had brought the hosts within one point (58-57), but Lietkabelis scored only two more points during the remaining four minutes, as Ventspils registered another win.
The visitors’ big man Harvey Grant was one rebound shy off a double-double, finishing the game with a team-high 14 points and nine rebounds, while Ronalds Zakis added 12 points and eight boards.
Goran Vrbanc paced Lietkabelis’ offense with 19 points, while Ivan Nelyubov scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a losing effort.
PARNU – The tip-off time in the game between Parnu and Liepaja/Triobet has been pushed back and the match will begin at 17:00, which is an hour later than previously planned.
The game will be televised by the TV6 channel in Estonia, with the broadcast also beginning at 17:00.
The two other games of the day will begin as planned, as Lietkabelis welcome Ventspils in Panevezys at 16:00, while Valga Maks&Moorits play TU/Rock in Voru at 17:00.
NORRKOPING – Joakim Kjellbom and Kendrick Brown combined for 44 points, as Dolphins registered a 95-85 victory against Jekabpils at home in Sweden on Friday evening.
Having already booked a spot in the playoffs previously, the Norrkoping club cemented themselves in second place after improving to 7-3, while Jekabpils dropped to 4-5.
Although Dolphins led only by a single point after the first quarter, increasing the advantage to 49-46 at the halftime break after Jermont Horton finished the second quarter with a lay-up.
Jekabpils stayed close throughout the third period. Although Edgars Jeromanovs and Adnan Chuck scored five quick points as the quarter was approaching its end to pull away by seven points, Troy Barnies and Rinalds Sirsnins replied with a 5-0 run of their own to cut the deficit to 71-69.
Another three-pointer by Sirsnins had made it a one-point game in the final period at 75-74, but a 6-0 stretch by the Dolphins put some distance between the sides again, as the hosts pulled away late to take the win.
Joakim Kjellbom and Kendrick Brown had 22 points each for the home side, while Pierre Hampton added 16 points and seven boards.
For Jekabpils, Rinalds Sirsnins finished with a game-high 20 points and seven rebounds, Troy Barnies collected 17 points, as Martins Kravcenko chipped in with 14.
RAPLA – Tyco Rapla won their second game in a row in Group A, taking down the visiting Valmiera 71-68 on Friday evening to improve to a 3-7 record.
Having strung together a couple of victories, Rapla is making a late playoff push, while the visitors from Latvia dropped to a 5-5 mark.
Valmiera started the game better, taking a 19-12 lead after the first period. Led by scoring ace Janis Kaufmanis, who had 16 in the first two quarters, the guests increased that margin to 43-30 at the halfway point.
However, the script flipped completely in the second half, as Tyco Rapla started making a push in the third quarter. Following a 7-0 stretch to end the period, the hosts had managed to cut it to 55-56.
With four minutes left, Valmiera was still up 65-62, but Slovenian big man Ziga Fifolt knocked one down from deep, Martin Paasoja swished two free-throws and Fifolt added two more points from inside.
Despite falling behind 69-65, Valmiera stayed closed with Janis Kaufmanis making it a one-point game with three points in a row. However, Kaufmanis made a crucial turnover with five seconds on the clock, resulting with Sven Kaldre sealing the win for Rapla with a lay-up.
Ziga Fifolt led Tyco Rapla in scoring with 16 points, while Rait-Riivo Laane and Sven Kaldre finished the game with 11 points each.
Valmiera’s top-scorer was Janis Kaufmanis with 24 points and nine rebounds, and Ernests Kalve added 18 points, despite going 1-of-8 from three-point range.
UTENA ‒ Juventus booked a spot in the BBL Playoffs with a 94-73 win against Group C bottom-dwellers Valga Maks&Moorits, who have now lost all 10 games.
The victory allowed the Lithuanian to improve to a 4-6 record and move into the fifth spot, passing the 3-9 Barsy, whose fate now rests in the hands of other teams.
Seven minutes into the first quarter, Kristjan Evart had given Maks&Moorits a 16-15, lead but Juventus went on a 7-0 run to jump in front, going on to finish the period with a 27-20 advantage.
Having started the second quarter with a 17-4 stretch, the hosts maintained their offensive consistency, dropping a total of 27 points in this period as well, allowing only 15 themselves.
Although the visitors from Estonia had cut the deficit to a manageable 12-point margin after three quarters, Juventus shut down their hopes of a comeback with eight unanswered points in the final period.
Aidas Viskontas finished the game with 18 points and five assists, Keyron Sheard added 15 points and five dimes, while Saulius Kulvietis scored 14 points for the winners.
Miguel Ortega had a good all around performance for Maks&Moorits, with 22 points, six assists and five rebounds, Ferg Myrick had 19 points, while Viljar Veski chipped in with 14.
RIGA ‒ TonyBet Prienai barely avoided an upset on the road in Latvia, coming back from behind to register an 81-75 victory against Barons kvartals on Wednesday evening.
Following the game, the Lithuanians, now 8-2, guaranteed the second place in Group C, while the 5-5 Barons could still finish in third if things go their way.
TonyBet had a bright start to the game and led by six points (20-14) after 10 minutes of play. But Jekabs Rozitis instigated a 12-0 stretch in the second period to guide Barons into a 30-24 lead.
Having started the second half with a 38-32 lead, Barons ran away even further ahead, as a lay-up by Harijs Rubenis increased the margin to 48-34. However, the guests didn’t let the situation to get out of hand, cutting the gap to six points (61-55) before the fourth quarter.
With seven minutes remaining on the clock, Karlis Apsitis had put Barons in front 68-59, but Vaidas Cepukaitis scored a pair of baskets to spark a 15-0 run, during which Laimis Kisielius had six points.
Two thunderous dunks by Arturas Valeika finished the great stretch for TonyBet, who were already up 76-70 with three minutes left and succeeded to hold on to the lead until the final buzzer.
Valeika finished the game with a team-high 19 points and 10 rebounds for TonyBet, the team’s captain Gintaras Kadziulis scored 16, while Laimonas Kisielius added 11 points, 8 rebounds and five assists.
For Barons, Jekabs Rozitis paced the scoring with 23 points and added seven boards, Karlis Apsitis scored 13 points, while Ilmars Bergmanis and Agnis Cavars collected 12 points apiece.
LIEPAJA ‒ Liepaja/Triobet got a step closer to the playoffs, as they registered an 82-69 upset against Group B leaders Nevezis on Tuesday evening.
The Latvian side improved to a 3-6 record and climbed to fifth place in the group leaderboard, while Nevezis lost only for the second time in 10 games.
With 2:22 to go, Liepaja/Triobet was up only 69-68, but Paul Hill was precise on a pull-up jumper and Andrius Mazutis added a corner three-pointer to stretch the lead to 74-68.
Visibly frustrated, Nevezis gave up on even trying and fell behind even more, as the gap reached double digits after Roberts Freimanis leaked out for a dunk and Hill added another triple.
Kristaps Miglinieks paced Liepaja/Triobet to the big win with 19 points, Hill finished the game with 17, while Freimanis added a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds.
For Nevezis, Arvydas Siksnius had a team-high 15 points, Aurimas Adomaitis collected 13 points and five boards, while Valdas Dabkus chipped in with 12 points.
VALMIERA ‒ Valmiera celebrated a big 93-69 victory against Tallinna Kalev to improve to a 5-4 record in Group A standings, while the Estonian side slumped to 3-6.
The visitors actually started the opening quarter rather well, taking a 21-16 lead after Asenso Ampim’s long-range attempt reached the target.
However, the gap between the two teams started to show in the second period. Leading 30-27, the guests were overtaken by the resurgent Valmiera team, who went on an 8-0 run.
Although the Estonians didn’t fall behind too far, the roles had clearly changed. Having carried over a 50-44 advantage from the first two quarters, Valmiera stepped up the pace in the third period.
Led by scoring ace Janis Kaufmanis, who had a game-high 23 points, the hosts won a 20-0 stretch in the third period to decide the outcome of the game.
Ernests Kalve and Maris Ziedins chipped in with 15 and 13 points respectively, with the former also grabbing six rebounds.
For Tallinna Kalev, Reimmo Tamm and Asenso Ampim combined for 41 points, with Tamm collecting 21 points, five rebounds and five assists and Ampim adding a double-double of 20 points and 11 boards.
PANEVEZYS ‒ Lietkabelis got a much-needed boost from the bottom of Group B standings, with a 102-59 victory against the visiting Parnu club on Tuesday.
Both teams entered the game with an identical 1-7 record and, following the win, the Panevezys side caught up with the fifth-placed Liepaja/Triobet (2-6) in terms of wins.
Having lost the first meeting against Parnu on a buzzer-beater, the struggling Lietkabelis seemed to get things together right from the get-go, as they raced into a 22-9 in the first six minutes of the game.
The start of the game reflected rather accurately the events that followed in Panevezys, as the hosts found their game and won all four quarters, holding Parnu to only 20 points in the second half.
Goran Vrbanc, who joined Lietkabelis only recently, had a team-high 22 points, Lukas Aukstikalnis scored 18 points, while Zygimantas Simonis contributed with 14.
For the visitors, Janis Vahter scored 15 points, as Nemanja Miljkovic and Rannar Raap finished the game with 13 points each.
PASVALYS ‒ Pieno Zvaigzdes continue to unstoppable roll in the BBL, registering the 10th straight victory with a 91-63 win against the winless Maks&Moorits club on Tuesday.
The Lithuanian hosts, first in Group C, weren’t too kind to their Estonian rivals, starting the game with a 9-0 run.
Although Maks&Moorits had managed to tie it all up at 13-13, that was the last time they had Pieno Zvaigzdes in sight, as the Pasvalys club pulled away slowly, but surely.
Having finished the first quarter, with a 23-17 advantage, the home side picked up the pace in the second quarter, which they won 28-13, increasing the margin to 21 points (51-30) at the halftime break.
Pieno Zvaigzdes weren’t having a particularly good night shooting the ball from three-point range, making 11-of-35 attempts, but they compensated for it by shooting 74% from inside the arc.
Ingus Bankevics blew up for a game-high 23 points, with Darrick Leonard and Paulius Sorokas chipping in with 11 points each in a blow-out win.
Maks&Moorits guard Miguel Ortega finished with 21 points, Kristjan Evart scored 14 points, while Viljar Veski added 11 points in a losing effort.