| Zalgiris rallies from 17 down to beat Nizhny
In a very intense showdown, Zalgiris Kaunas rallied from a 17-point deficit to down Nizhny Novgorod 55-61, recording a very important road win in Group A. Zalgiris improved to 4-3 and has a 2-0 record against Nizhny, which dropped to 3-4. James Anderson paced the winners with 18 points. Paulius Jankunas and Robertas Javtokas each scored 9 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for Zalgiris. Taylor Rochestie led Nizhny with 15 points. Tarence Kinsey added 11 while Art Parakhouski pulled down 13 rebounds for the hosts. Nizhny had a strong start and a layup by Kinsey gave the hosts a 10-4 lead. Javtokas and Anderson brought Zalgiris within 13-11 after 10 minutes. It didn't last long, however, as Semen Antonov struck twice from downtown in a 9-0 run that made it a double-digit difference, 22-11. Nizhny extended its margin to 37-20 near halftime, but Anderson led a 0-13 run which brought Zalgiris within 37-33. A floating jumper by Lukas Lekavicius made it a 1-point game heading into the fourth quarter. Anderson and Lukas Lekavicius gave Zalgris a 46-54 lead, completing a 9-34 run since Nizhny's biggest lead. Zalgiris held on to its small margin and cruised to a well-deserved road win.
First quarter: Rochestie puts Nizhny ahead
Both teams struggled to score early until Taylor Rochestie hit a mid-range jumper off the dribble. Zalgiris missed its first 5 shots until Vaidas Kariniauskas stepped up with a driving layup. Rochestie insisted with a mid-range jumper, which Tarence Kinsey followed with a fast break layup for a 6-2 Nizhny margin. Art Parakhouski split free throws, as Nizhny kept shining on defense, not allowing any open shots. Kariniauskas hit an off-balance shot in penetration to keep the guests within 7-4. Parakhouski split free throws and Kinsey scored off a steal to boost Nizhny's lead to 10-4. Robertas Javtokas took over with a three-point play, which Rochestie erased with a wild catch-and-shoot triple. Paulius Jankunas beat the shot clock with a baseline jumper and James Anderson added a six-meter shot to get the guests within 13-11 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Home team surges forward
Semen Antonov struck from downtown early in the second quarter, as Nizhny switched to a 1-2-2 zone defense. Zalgiris committed several turnovers, while a free throw by Kinsey and a stop-and-pop jumper by Evgeny Baburin made it an 8-point game. Another big triple by Antonov caused the guests to call timeout at 22-11, after a 9-0 run. Anderson tried to change things with a driving basket, but a layup by Kinsey and free throws by Rochestie gave the hosts a 26-13 advantage. Javtokas and Maksim Krivosheev exchanged free throws and a wild three-point play by Kinsey broke the game open, 31-15. Milaknis split foul shots and a tip-in by Arturas Gudaitis brought Zalgiris a bit closer, 31-18. Krivosheev scored around the basket and Trey Thompkins added free throws for a 35-19 Nizhny lead. Krivosheev, dunked but Javtokas and Vytenis Lipkevicius got Zalgiris within 37-23 at the break.
Third quarter: Zalgiris bouncd back
Anderson swished a jumper off an inbound pass soon after the break. Nizhny was held scoreless for more than three minutes and a three-pointer by Javtokas brought the guests within single digits, 37-28. A driving layup by Anderson forced Nizhny to call a much-needed timeout at 37-30. Anderson hit a technical free throw and a layup by Javtokas brought Zalgiris back to life at 37-33 after a 0-10 run. Thompkins banked in a close jumper, which Anderson matched with a layup. Javtokas scored again, but Rochestie hit a floater off the glass to restore a 41-37 Nizhny lead. Gudaitis made free throws, but so did Parakhouski and Kinsey to boost the hosts' lead to 44-39. Jankunas took over with a big basket in penetration and a four-meter jumper by Lukas Lekavicius made it 44-43 through three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Zalgiris pulls away when it counts
Rochestie provided a highlight with a wild driving basket that Darius Songaila matched with a jump hook. A three-pointer by Anderson completed the guests' comeback, 46-48, with over eight minutes left. Anderson hit a foul shot and a three-pointer by Lipkevicius boosted Zalgiris's margin to 46-52. A stop-and-pop jumper by Lekavicius caused Nizhny to call timeout at 46-54. Rochestie made free throws, which Lipkevicius erased with a driving layup. Thompkins sank a mid-range jumper and soon added free throws to bring the hosts within 52-56. Anderson made foul shots and a wild basket by Lekavicius seemed to seal the outcome, 52-60, with three minutes remaining. Nizhny kept fighting, however, as Dmitriy Khvostov struck from downtown. He didn't find much help around and a free throw by Anderson sealed the outcome down the stretch.
Friday, November 28, 2014