KEDAINIAI ‒ Nevezis won the first BBL game of the New Year, defeating Barsy 82-76 after a hard-fought battle in Kedainiai on Friday evening.
The Lithuanian club climbed to the top of Group B standings, improving to a 7-1 record, while Barsy dropped to 3-6.
Nevezis jumped ahead to a slight lead, finishing the first quarter with a 22-18 advantage, but the visitors from Kazakhstan kept close, not allowing the hosts to break away.
Valdas Dabkus had given a 37-29 edge just before the first half, but Barsy responded with three points at the other end to make it a five-point game after two quarters.
After an 8-0 run in the beginning of the third period, Brandon Callahan gave the guests a 44-42 advantage, but Nevezis slipped back in front before the start of the final period.
The lead changed hands a few times before the Lithuanians went on a 7-0 run to take an 80-72 advantage with a minute left in the game.
Valdas Dabkus paced the winners with 21 points and six rebounds, Arvydas Siksnius had 19 points and four assists, while Gintaras Leonavicius added 18 points.
For Barsy, Gytis Sirutavicius collected a team-high 17 points, while Mikhail Yevstigneev chipped in with 16 points.
NORRKOPING ‒ 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 experienced veteran led Norrkoping Dolphins to three convincing wins, averaging team-highs of 16.7 points, 10 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in addition to shooting 62% from the field.
His best performance came in a 70-53 win against group leaders Tampere Pyrinto, when Kjellbom scored 18 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and swatted away four shots for a total ranking of 33.
The award will be presented to the player on January 10th in a home game against the visiting Valmiera club from Latvia.
SIAULIAI ‒ Vytas Sulskis paced Siauliai with 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists, as the Lithuanian team closed out the year with a 79-66 win against Barsy on Wednesday.
Following the win, Siauliai improved to a 6-1 record, while Barsy finished the year at 3-5.
The hosts got off to a quick start, taking a 19-8 lead after a pair of three-pointers from David McClure and Rokas Giedraitis.
Siauliai led by as many as 13 points, but Barsy managed to scale the deficit down to 31-38 by the halftime break.
A strong start to the second half, allowed the home side to pull away once again, as Siauliai increased the advantage to 52-33 after a 14-2 start to the third quarter.
Although Barsy had cut the gap to seven points in the fourth quarter at 57-64, Chris Cooper scored six points in a row for the hosts to seal the win.
Vytautas Sulskis was the top-scorer for the winners with 19 points, while Cooper finished the game with 17 points in 20 minutes of play.
For the guests, Mikhail Yevstigneev had a double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds, Yevgeniy Issakov scored 13 points, as Frederick Zambalist added 12.
After a week with only two games played, the Baltic Basketball League (BBL) follows up with an action packed one. 18 games were played throughout the two week period and the BBL presents a conjunct review of all the main events and spectacular performances that took place.
LIEPAJA ‒ Ingus Jakovics made a free-throw with seven seconds left in the game to give Liepaja/Triobet the first win of the season, as the Latvian side registered a 77-76 victory against Barsy.
The team from Liepaja had lost five games in a row before earning their first win, while the loss puts the visitors from Kazakhstan at 3-4.
Barsy led by as many as 10 points in the first half, but a third-quarter comeback allowed Liepaja/Triobet to catch up and even take a 56-55 lead before the final period.
With three and a half minutes left in the game, Lauris Blaus had put the hosts up 70-63, but Barsy managed to make it a one-possession game after two free-throws by Edgaras Zelionis.
With 13 seconds left on the clock, Mikhail Yevstingneev tied things up at 76-76 with a jump shot, but Ingus Jakovics prevented an overtime by making one-of-two from the stripe on the other end after Donte Hill fouled him.
Ingus Jakovics had a team-high 18 points for Liepaja/Triobet, Renars Magone scored 17, as Lauris Blaus collected 16 points for the winners.
Barsy were led by Lithuanian big man Edgaras Zelionis, who had 20 points and eight rebounds in a losing effort, while his countryman Gytis Sirutavicius scored 18 points and grabbed six boards.
TAMPERE ‒ Pyrinto ran away to a 19-point already after the first quarter in an easy 112-59 victory at home against Tyco Rapla on Sunday evening.
The Group A leaders from Finland improved to an 8-1 mark, while the visitors from Estonia are on the opposite end of the standings with a 1-6 record.
Pyrinto shocked the guests by starting the game with a 14-0 run, with Antero Lehto and Benjamin Raymond scoring six points each in the span.
After a setting off the fireworks early and finishing the opening quarter with a 27-8 lead, the Tampere club went on to take the three remaining quarters as well, as they cruised on to take the win.
Antero Lehto finished the game with a game-high 21 points for Pyrinto, Topias Palmi collected 16 points, while Benjamin Raymond and Yannick Anzuluni chipped in with 13 points apiece.
Tyco Rapla’s top scorer Martin Dorbek had a team-high 13 points, Dusan Sisic had 11 points, as Rait-Riivo Laane added 10.
RIGA – Having started the season with three losses in a row, Barons have gone on a five-game winning streak, with the latest 88-69 victory coming against Caspiy on Saturday.
The team from Riga jumped to third place in Group C with a 5-3 record, with the visitors from Kazakhstan dropping to a 2-6 mark.
After an early 11-0 run, Barons jumped ahead 17-9 already in the opening quarter, establishing a 21-12 lead after the first ten minutes of play.
The gap between the sides grew to double digits by the halftime break, as the margin separating the teams reached 47-32 after two quarters.
With solid second-half performances from the team’s leaders, Barons cruised to the fifth consecutive win, as Harijs Rubenis and Davis Zonne collected 15 points each. Karlis Apisitis added 14 points.
For Caspiy, Zhanysh Erns Uulu and Kris Richard shared a game-high 17 points, with Vadim Chsherbak chipping in with nine points.
JEKABPILS – A strong second-half performance brought Jekabpils an 88-60 victory against the visiting Tarvas at home in Latvia on Friday evening.
The Latvian side returned to winning ways after losing the two previous games and is now 3-3, while the Rakvere club dropped to 2-4.
The visitors started the game strong and took an early 12-6 lead after Maris Laksa went one-of-two from the free-throw stripe, but an 11-0 run put Jekabpils in front.
Tarvas got back in front on the second period and led for the majority of the time up to the halftime break, but the hosts held close and tied the game up at 40-40 after two quarters.
The game changed drastically in the second half, with Jekabpils finishing the third period with an 8-0 spurt, which put the home side up by double digits.
During the fourth quarter, the gap between the sides only grew and the Latvian hosts celebrated a convincing 28-point victory after a 31-point scoring outburst in the final period.
The American duo of Cameron Runders and Troy Barnies had 19 points apiece for the winners, with the latter also adding 11 rebounds. Janis Poznaks added 15 points and 15 rebounds.
Tarvas was led by Lithuanian point guard Giedrius Gustas, who was the only player in double digits for the visitors with 11 points, with Rait Keerles adding nine.
PARNU – Gintaras Leonavicius paced the undermanned Nevezis with 28 points, as the Lithuanian side improved to a 6-1 record, taking a 99-66 victory against Parnu on the road in Estonia on Friday evening.
It was the fourth loss in a row for Parnu, who are sixth at 1-4, while Kedainiai is tied with Ventspils for the top spot in Group B.
There was little intrigue from the very start of the game, as Nevezis powered past the Estonian hosts with a strong 28-19 opening quarter.
The gap between the teams soon reached double digits and settled down at the 14-point mark at the half as Darius Silinskis hit a jumper to make it 46-32 just before the halftime buzzer.
Despite having only eight players on the roster for this game, the visitors from Lithuania demonstrated some solid basketball in the second half as well and grabbed the easy victory on the road.
Nevezis was on fire from long-range, making 15-of-31 three-point attempts, while Parnu shot 4-of-16 from beyond the arc.
Gintaras Leonavicius finished the game with a season-high 28 points, Rolandas Jakstas scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, while Arvydas Siksnius added 18 points.
Rannar Raap led the home side in scoring with 14 points, but committed seven turnovers, Zivojin Grubovic scored 11 points and Vladzimir Krysevich chipped in with 10.
VENTSPILS – The defending BBL champions Ventspils extended their winning streak to four games with a 96-66 victory against Barsy at home on Friday.
The Latvian team improved to a 6-1 record in Group B, with the visitors from Kazakhstan dropping to 3-3.
It did not take long for Ventspils to establish a sizable advantage, as the hosts were already up 12-3 four minutes into the first quarter.
Having finished the period with a 12-0 run, the club from the Latvian seaside ran away to a 16-point advantage after the first ten minutes of play.
Barsy had managed to stop the bleeding in the second quarter with a rather even second quarter, but the scoreboard still showed 45-30 in favor of the hosts at the halftime break.
Led by Janis Timma, who was presented with the BBL November MVP award before the game, Ventspils won the third quarter 27-17 and increased the gap to 25 points before the final period to decide the outcome of the game.
Timma finished the game with a team-high 14 points, nine rebounds and four assists, Akselis Vairogs also collected 14 points, while Ronalds Zakis chipped in with 12 points and seven boards.
Lithuanian swingman Gytis Sirutavicius had 15 points for the visitors from Kazakhstan, as Dmitry Gavrilov collected 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds.