The host team Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius advanced to the second stage of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds after holding off resilient VEF Riga 80-71 on Tuesday in Siemens Arena. Behind 23 points from Renaldas Seibutis, Rytas is now two wins away from realizing its dream of returning to elite competition, and will play EWE Baskets Oldenburg on Thursday. The hosts pulled away to a double-digit lead when Seibutis scored 11 points in a 13-2 run that ended the first, and started the second half, but needed a late triple from Omar Cook to seal the win. Cook had 7 points and dished out 7 assists, Martynas Gecevicius collected 11 points plus 8 rebounds, Juan Palacios had 10 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assist, while Tautvydas Lydeka also scored 10 points in victory. Tomas Delininkaitis led in defeat with 14 points, while Dee Brown had 13 points and 7 assists. Antywane Robinson also scored 13 points, Arturs Berzins had 11 and Kristaps Janicenoks 10 for VEF Riga which will compete in 2013-14 Eurocup.
Riga sunk 4 triples in the opening quarter. Arturs Berzins and Seibutis traded three-pointers to start the game, followed by Andreas Glyniadakis scoring 5 points to give the hosts 9-5. However, Janicenoks, Arturs Berzins and finally Brown each nailed a three before the end of the quarter, and Riga held 14-15 after 10 minutes. In the early part of the second quarter, Stevan Jelovac hit one from downtown for Rytas, but Brown replied with another one of his own. After Milenko Tepic made a runner of the glass, Martynas Gecevicius from the left corner scored a triple-plus-foul, and Lydeka followed it up with a bucket from close range for 27-21, as Rytas took the lead for good. After Janicenoks answered with back-to-back layups, Seibutis and Palacios combined for six straight point and 33-25. Gatis Jahovics cut the deficit with Riga’s sixth triple, but Seibutis finished the quarter with 4 more points, including a jumper for 39-31 at halftime.
Seibutis continued his run with layups on first two Rytas’ possessions in the second half, extending the lead to double-digits, and when he sunk a triple, margin reached 48-33. A triple from Gecevicius made it a 16-point game, before Robinson scored 6 in a row and Janis Berzins helped to keep Riga’s hopes alive. But Lydeka made sure the hosts go into the final 10 minutes with 61-47. At the start of the fourth quarter, Arturs Berzins and Brown each sunk one from downtown, and Janis Berzins made a layup for 68-59. After Jelovac and Robinson traded threes, Riga’s aggressive defense started paying dividends, and Delininkaitis strung together 9 points, going 7-for-8 from the foul line in the process, cutting it to 75-71 with just under 60 seconds remaining. On the ensuing possession, however, Omar Cook hit a three-pointer, getting a lucky roll off the rim, sealing the deal.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013