UTENA – Barons came back from behind to upset Juventus on the road in Lithuania, taking a 79-76 victory in Group C action on Saturday evening.
The Latvian team registered the first win of the season after losing the first three, while Juventus dropped to a 2-2 record.
Halfway through the first period, the teams were tied at 14-14, but Barons went on a 14-0 run to jump ahead 28-14, eventually winning the opening quarter by 12 points.
However, the second quarter was very much a different story – Juventus came all the way back and even finished the half with a 39-38 advantage.
After three quarters, Juventus already had a 66-61 advantage, but Barons did not back off and eventually got back in front 75-73 with 44 seconds remaining after an and-one play by Karlis Apsitis.
Juventus had a couple opportunities to tie the game, but Ernestas Ezerskis and Nikita Barinov couldn’t get the shots to fall.
Having decided to foul intentionally, Juventus got back within a single point (76-77) after Aidas Viskontas made a three-pointer, but Karlis Apsitis sealed the win for Barons from the free-throw stripe.
Apisitis had a game-high 22 points, Salvis Metra scored 20 points and added five rebounds, while Ilmars Bermanis chipped in with 16 points and five boards for Barons.
For Juventus, Nikita Barinov was the top scorer with 13 points and eight rebounds, while Saulius Kulvietis, Averon Mathews and Gintaras Matulis chipped in with 11 each.
TARTU – In an Estonian derby of Group C, Tartu Rock celebrated a 93-50 victory against Valga Maks&Moorits on Saturday evening.
The win allowed Rock to improve to a 2-3 record, while Maks&Moorits lost for the second time in as many games.
After going point-for-point in the first quarter, Rock shot ahead in the second period after winning the quarter 25-10 to take a 43-29 lead at the half.
Maks&Moorits’ problems did not end with the halftime buzzer, quite the opposite – Rock kept pulling away in the second half.
The Tartu club allowed the visitors to score only 21 points throughout the third and fourth quarters, scoring 50 themselves to cruise to an easy victory in front of a home crowd.
Uros Lukovic had a game-high 26 points and 11 rebounds for Rock, Vincent Simpson had 19 points, five rebounds and six assists, while Kristen Meister chipped in with 12 points.
For Maks&Moorits, Sasha Avalic scored 14 points, while Kristjan Evart and Jonathan Dupree were the only other players in double digits with 12 points each.
PANEVEZYS – Anthony Bennet nailed a game-winning three-pointer with three seconds left to give Lietkabelis an 81-80 victory against Liepaja/Triobet in Group B action on Friday.
The debut of the club’s new head coach Algirdas Brazys could hardly have been any more dramatic, but it did end a horrible four-game losing streak for Lietkabelis, who registered the first win of the season.
Although the team from Liepaja led by as many as 16 points in the game, Lietkabelis went on a run in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 73-75 after a jump shot by Ryan Olander.
With just over a minute left, the visitors from Latvia were still ahead 80-76, but Anthony Bennet set up Olander for an assist to make it a one possession game.
In the next possession, Tomas Cerneckis forced Artis Ate to commit an offensive foul, with 19 seconds remaining to give the home side a chance to either win or tie the game.
Having called a timeout, Lietkabelis trusted the ball in Anthony Bennet’s hands and the American point guard did not disappoint, hitting the three-pointer for the win.
Darius Griskenas had 20 points and seven rebounds for Lietkabelis, Anthony Bennet scored 14, while Ryan Olander added 13 points and eight boards.
For Liepaja/Triobet, Artis Ate had a team-high 17 points, while Roberts Krumins chipped in with 13 points and six rebounds.
TALLINN – After an outstanding second half, Tallinna Kalev registered their second win of the season, defeating Valmiera 78-56 in the Estonian capital on Friday evening.
In a tightly contested Group A, both teams have identical records after winning two and losing two games each.
Valmiera started the game slightly better and had a slight advantage after the first quarter, as they led 14-10. However, the Tallinn club did not allow the visitors to run away with the advantage.
The teams were tied at 28-28 at the half, but Tallinn Kalev started the third period with a 12-2 run and broke away into a double-digit lead.
Illimar Pilk started the fourth quarter with a three-pointer to increase the home side’s advantage to 57-40 and Valmiera never managed to bounce back.
Having gone 5-of-7 from three-point range, Pilk ended the night as the leading scorer with 22 points, while Reimo Tamm added 18 points and six rebounds.
For the losing side, Raimonds Gabrans collected 12 points, while Janis Kaufmanis was the only other player in double digits with 10.
KEDAINIAI – In the last game of the month, Nevezis registered a confident 92-75 victory against the visiting Liepaja/Triobet at home on Thursday evening in Group B action.
The win allowed the Lithuanian side to improve to a 3-0 record in the BBL, while the team from Liepaja lost for the third time in as many games.
Nevezis’ offense was working in full swing from the early going, as the hosts established an early double-digit lead after a three-pointer by Tyrone Brazelton to make it 21-11 six minutes into the game.
The gap only grew in the second quarter and Liepaja/Triobet found themselves with a 21-point deficit at the half, with the scoreboard showing 55-34 in favor of Nevezis.
Having maintained a solid lead throughout the third period, the home side relaxed in the fourth, allowing the visitors to go on a 12-0 run to cut it to 72-81 with three minutes remaining.
However, Nevezis managed to halt the brewing comeback, with solid play down the stretch and stayed among the five unbeaten teams in the competition.
Tyrone Brazelton had a game-high 22 points and five assists for the winners, Gintaras Leonavicius added 20 points, while Valdas Dabkus, added a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds.
For Liepaja/Triobet, Artis Ate had 18 points, Lauris Blaus scored 15 and added nine rebounds, while Roberts Krumins and Ingus Jakovics chipped in with 11 each.
UTENA – Juventus improved to a 2-1 record in Group C after taking an 83-79 victory against TU/Rock, who finished the back-to-back Lithuanian road trip with two losses and dropped to 1-3.
Three minutes into the high-scoring first quarter, only a single point separated the teams, but Juventus finished the quarter with an 8-2 run to jump ahead 23-16 after the first ten minutes of play.
However, the second quarter belonged to Rock, as the visitors from Estonia erased the seven-point deficit and tied things at 43-43 as the halftime buzzer sounded.
Rock began the second half with a 5-0 run, but Juventus responded and did not let the Estonians run away with the lead, going back in front 53-52.
Having started the final period with a 57-60 deficit, Rock recaptured the lead at 75-74 with three and a half minutes remaining after a Timo Eichfuss free-throw.
However, Juventus finished the game stronger, holding of the visitors with successful shots from the stripe after they started to foul intentionally.
For the winners, Edgaras Stanionis had 14 points and six rebounds, Averon Matthews added 13 points and nine rebounds, while Ernestas Ezerskis contributed with 12 points and six boards.
Rock’s leading scorer Vincent Simpson with 16 points and eight assists, while Tanel Kurbas and Janar Talts chipped in with 15 points apiece.
RIGA – Pieno Zvaigzdes registered an easy victory in the Latvian capital Riga, defeating Barons 92-74 in Group C action on Wednesday.
The Lithuanian team improved to a 4-0 mark after the victory, while Barons stayed winless, dropping to 0-3.
Dovydas Redikas, on loan from Lietuvos Rytas, had a good debut for the Pasvalys team, scoring 11 points, grabbing four rebounds and dishing out six assists.
Barons started the game with emphasis and took an early 8-2 lead after a basket by Davis Coders a couple of minutes into the game. However, it did not take long for Pieno Zvaigzdes to tie things up.
Having finished the first quarter with a 19-16 edge, the visitors did not take the foot of the pedal in the second period, establishing a double-digit lead and heading into the halftime break with a 45-33 advantage.
Pieno Zvaigzdes continued the dominant performance in the third quarter, scoring 30 points behind good play from the duo of Derick Caracter and Arturas Jomantas.
With the visitors from Pasvalys leading by 24 points before the final period, the last 10 minutes was merely a formality, as Pieno Zvaigzdes inscribed the fourth victory in a row.
Derrick Caracter had a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds for the winners, Egidijus Dimsa scored 15 points, while Arturas Jomantas added 14 points and eight boards.
For Barons, Agnis Cavars had 16 points and five rebounds, while Ilmars Bermanis added 15 points.
SIAULIAI – Siauliai continued the strong start of the season by handing the defending Baltic Basketball League (BBL) champions Ventspils the first loss of the season, defeating the Latvian side 84-68 at home on Tuesday.
The win allowed the Lithuanians to climb atop Group B, with a 3-0 record, while Ventspils dropped to third place, having won two matches and lost one.
After the first quarter, the visitors from the Latvian seaside had a slight 24-21 edge, which they increased to 32-23 at the start of the second period.
However, an and-one play by Siauliai’s captain Darius Pakamanis just seconds before halftime tied the game at 41-41 after two quarters.
Although Ventspils opened the scoring in the second half, Siauliai responded with a 14-3 run, which put them up by double digits at 56-46.
Having started the final ten minutes of play with a 64-53 advantage, the home team didn’t allow last year’s strongest team to make a run, keeping them at arm’s length until the final buzzer.
Darius Pakamanis and Vytautas Sulskis scored 17 points each for the winners, with Pakamanis also adding eight assists, while Christopher Cooper chipped in with a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds.
The only player in double digits for Ventspils was Ronalds Zakis, who finished the game with 17 points, as Sandis Valters scored nine.
PRIENAI – TonyBet Prienai kept their unbeaten record alive in the Baltic Basketball League (BBL), defeating the visiting TU/Rock 86-74 at home on Tuesday evening.
It was the third victory in a row for last year’s BBL runners-up, while the Tartu club dropped to a 1-2 record in Group C.
TonyBet got off to a superb start, taking a 17-2 lead after an and-one play by Zygimantas Janavicius midway through the first quarter.
Although the Lithuanians were still up by double digits with five minutes remaining in the first half, Rock did not panic and finished the quarter strong, to cut the deficit to 41-42 at the half.
The visitors continued to ride the momentum in the third quarter and even led by as many as eight points after a basket by Vincent Simpson.
The game took a swing in a different direction again in the final period, as the experienced TonyBet team went on an early 8-0 to retake the reigns of the game with solid play.
With 90 seconds remaining, it was still a five-point game, but Gintaras Kadziulis hit a very difficult off-balance three-pointer to shoot down Rock’s hopes of a comeback.
Arturas Valeika had a game-high 22 points for the Prienai side, Gintaras Kadziulis scored 18 while Martynas Linkevicius finished the game with 11 points, 12 rebounds, five rebounds and three steals.
For Rock, Joosep Toome had 19 points, Janar Talts collected 16, while Gert Dorbek rounded out the double-digit club with 13 points and six assists.
PARNU – A pair of huge three-pointers by 19-year-old guard Brett Nomm gave Parnu the first win of the season, as the Estonian side shocked Lietkabelis with an impressive 79-78 comeback win.
With a couple of seconds to spare, Nomm hit the game-winning three-pointer to put the cherry on top of the decisive 16-5 run in the last four minutes of the game.
Lietkabelis seemed to be right on track for the win, as Anthony Bennett’s jumper had made it a double digit game at 73-63, but Parnu did not give up and fought back behind a terrific fourth quarter effort by Nemanja Miljkovic.
With 40 seconds left and Parnu down by five points, Brett Nomm hit his first three-pointer to cut the deficit to 74-76, with Rannar Raap making it a one-point game from the free-throw line.
Ryan Olander’s dunk with 16 second remaining put Lietkabelis back ahead by three points, but Janis Vahter cut the gap to two again, going one-of-two from the stripe.
After being fouled intentionally, Darius Griskenas missed both free-throws, leaving the door open for Parnu in the last possession. The 13 seconds left proved to be enough for hosts to triumph in front of the home fans.
Zivojin Grubovic had a game-high 21 points for Parnu, Rannar Raap collected 17, while the hero of the game, Brett Nomm, collected six points, with two crucial three-pointers.
Darius Griskenas missed a pair of very important free-throws, but still finished with 19 points for Lietkabelis, while Ryan Olander collected 14 points and six boards.