| Lietuvos Rytas is back in the Eurocup Finals and will play on seeking its third title after surviving the Eurocup Quarterfinals, despite losing Game 2 on the road to BC Donetsk 80-78. Rytas won Game 1 by 11 points, which allowed it to move on in the two-game total points series. After falling behind 8-10 early in the first quarter, Donetsk trailed by as many as 12 until the fourth quarter when Ramel Curry led a rally that gave the hosts a 33-24 scoring differential in the final 10 minutes, enough to grab the narrow victory, but not enough to threaten the series outcome. Curry scored 26 points, including 4 of 6 from downtown, to pace the winners, while Vule Avdalovic bagged 14, Viacheslav Kravtsov contributed 12 and Ivan Radenovic 10 along with 8 rebounds. Tyrese Rice and Jonas Valanciunas each tallied 14, and Arturas Jomantas added 12 in a losing effort.
Rytas came out of the gate quickly with a triple by Lawrence Roberts and layup by Aleksandar Rasic; Donetsk answered with three baskets in the paint, including a layup by Curry that put the hosts out front 6-5. Both teams kept scoring as Rasic banged in a three-pointer, followed by a layup by the hosts’ Kravtsov and a mid-range jumper by Seibutis that pushed the score to 8-10. Rytas staged a 2-5 run, capped by a three-pointer by Jomantas, to open a 10-15 margin. Donetsk got a three-point play from Avdalovic on a layup and foul shot, but the visitors got another 6 points on free throws and a two-pointer each by Jomantas and Valanciunas to advance the score to 14-23. The teams swapped points, then Tyrese Rice added three foul shots to up the visitors’ lead to 17-28 at the close of the first quarter.
Rytas scored the first field goal on a fast break layup by Mindaugas Katelynas, but then Curry drained a triple to keep the deficit on single-digits 21-30. After a nearly three-minute scoring drought, Radenovic put in with a layup on a give-and-go play with Kravtsov to cut the lead to 23-30. Seibutis hit a pair of foul shots, then Steponas Babrauskas buried a triple to give the visitors a comfortable margin once again 23-35. But Donetsk kept working the ball down to Kravtsov, who banked in a layup followed by a dunk, then Vojdan Stojanovski nailed a short-range jumper to slice the lead to 29-35. The scoring continued on the foul line until Babrauskas drove to the basket for a layup, but Stojanovski had the last word before halftime, draining a triple from the top of the key to narrow the difference to 34-41.
The visitors opened scoring in the third quarter with a 4-0 run on consecutive layups by Rice to return the lead to double digits, 34-45. Donetsk got its first basket at the three-minute mark as Curry nailed a mid-range jumper, soon answered by Valanciunas down low as the scoreboard moved to 36-47. After Darnell Jackson powered in layup, Curry drilled a triple to bring the hosts to 41-47. Jomantas and Curry exchanged points in the paint, then Siebutis buried a triple to open a little more daylight for Rytas 45-52. Curry and Siebutis exchanged baskets to the close the quarter with Rytas out front 47-54.
Donetsk put together a 7-0 run to open the fourth quarter, led by Curry and Avdalovic, who scored a pair of two-pointers, to tie the game at 54-54 – the first tie since early in the first quarter. After Roberts scored down low, Curry knocked down a triple that was quickly answered by Rasic, setting the score at 57-59. After Curry hit free throws, Stojanovski and Jomantas exchanged layups, then Valanciunas nailed a two-point jumper to knot the game at 63-63 with just over 4 minutes to play. After an exchange of two-point plays, Valanciunas scored in the paint to swing the lead in favor of Rytas 65-67 with 2:33 to go. Curry struck from downtown once again, then followed a foul shot by Jomantas with a layup to put Donetsk out front 70-68 with just under 2:00 on the clock. After 1 minute without scoring, Avdalocic and Rasic exchanged free throws, then Radenovic hit a two-pointer and foul shot to give the hosts a 74-70 margin. Roberts and Rice knocked down foul shots, but Curry and Radenovic answered with a basket each in the paint to set the scoreboard at 80-75 with 22 seconds to go. Rasic and Rice scored at the foul line to cut the margin to 80-78 with 10 seconds left, but it was not enough as the clock ran out, giving the hosts an exciting come-from-behind victory 80-78.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012