| Lietuvos Rytas stayed in the fight to reach the Turkish Airlines Euroleague by downing KK Buducnost 83-64 in the first Qualifying Round in Vilnius, Lithuania on Thursday. L. Rytas is set to face Cibona in the second Qualifying Round on Saturday while Buducnost will play the 2011-12 Eurocup. Ronnie Seibutis paced the winners with 17 points. Tyrese Rice had 14 of his 16 points in the first half, Jonas Valanciunas added 11 while Mindaugas Katelynas and Steponas Babrauskas each got 10 for L. Rytas. Nikola Vucevic led Buducnost with 18 points while Nikola Ivanovic added 14. Rice had 8 points in an 11-0 run that allowed L. Rytas to get the lead for good, 34-25, midway through the second quarter. Buducnost managed to get within 42-38 on a basket by Aleksa Popovic. L. Rytas improved its defense in the fourth quarter and a 14-0 run that Valanciunas capped with free throws sealed the outcome, 75-52, minutes before the final buzzer.
Katelynas got L. Rytas going with a baseline jumper and soon added a reverse layup but Vucevic scored twice in the paint and soon gave Buducnost a 4-6 lead.
Jermaine Anderson nailed a jumper off the dribble and Bojan Krstovic matched Predrag Samardziski's layup with free throws for a 6-10 score. Seibutis and an
unstoppable Vucevic traded jumper, as L. Rytas called timeout to adjust its frontcourt defense. Rice followed free throws with a floating layup but a six-meter jumper
by Vucevic restored a 12-14 Buducnost edge. Valanciunas came off the bench and sent the crowd to their feet with a dunk. Ivanovic shined with 5 unanswered
points and Vucevic scored again for a 17-22 Buducnost lead. Babrauskas sank 4-of-4 free throws to get L. Rytas within 21-22 after 10 minutes.
L. Rytas improved its defensive intensity early in the second quarter, as a big block by Valanciunas led to a fast break layup by Rice. Buducnost quickly called timeout and Bojan Krstovic took over with a rainbow three-pointer but L. Rytas kept its defensive momentum going. Brad Newley quickly answered from downtown, igniting an 11-0 run in which Rice shined with an electric driving basket, an acrobatic reverse layup - and the free throw that came with it - and a big three-pointer that forced the guests to stop the game, 34-25. Vucevic stepped up with a four-meter jumper and another triple by Krstovic kept Buducnost within 34-30. Seibutis sank a jumper off the dribble and soon added a fast break layup to keep L. Rytas out of trouble, 38-31. A put-back layup by Katelynas and a free throw by Ivanovic fixed the halftime score at 40-32, as a wild triple by Rice came after the buzzer.
Valanciunas hit a jumper immediately after the break, as L. Rytas carried on powering the offensive board with him and Lawrence Roberts together on court. Cedomir Vitkovac sank a jump hook and a second-chance basket by Vucevic soon brought Buducnost within 42-36. L. Rytas struggled to score early in the third quarter and a driving layup by Popovic soon made it a four-point game, 42-38. Arturas Jomantas rescued L. Rytas with his trademark corner three-pointer and a jumper by Seibutis soon gave his team a 47-40 edge. Bojan Dubljevic made free throws off a timeout but Samardziski bettered those with a three-point play, good for a 50-42 L. Rytas lead. Buducnost struggled to get open looks against the hosts' strong defense. Katelynas and Ivanovic traded baskets and free throws by Milovoje Bozovic got Buducnost as close as 52-46. Ivanovic improved Samardziski's alleyoop layup with a triple but free throws by Rice gave L. Rytas a 56-49 edge after three quarters.
Seibutis nailed a big three-pointers early in the fourth quarter and Katelynas erased Vucevic's jumper with a basket of his own for a 61-51 L. Rytas lead. Seibutis sent the crowd to their feet with a one-handed jumper off a spin move and a high-flying tip-in by Roberts broke the game open, 65-52, with over 7 minutes left. Newley and Seibutis made free throws and a technical foul on Popovic helped L. Rytas to boost its margin to 71-52. Time was running out for Buducnost, that had entered the foul bonus too early and could not return to the game. Meanwhile, all L. Rytas fan had plenty of time to celebrate that their team had taken one important first step to reach the 2011-12 Turkish Airlines Euroleague season!
Thursday, September 29, 2011