2009-10Regular SeasonRound 1
October 22, 2009 CET: 18:45
Local time: 19:45 SIEMENS ARENA
Donatas Zavackas - Lietuvos RytasLietuvos Rytas made its return to the Euroleague a successful one with a 77-70 win over Efes Pilsen in front of a packed house at the Siemens Arena in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Thursday. A fantastic shooting effort from Martynas Gecevicius and brilliant playmaking from Bojan Popovic guided the hosts to start Group B on the right foot. Gecevicius practically doubled his previous career high with 21 points on 5-for-8 three-point shooting, while Popovic recorded his first career Euroleague double-double with 11 points, 10 assists and 3 steals. Donatas Zavackas added 15 points and Aron Baynes 14 for the winners. Preston Shumpert led Efes with 12 points, Igor Rakocevic scored 11 and Charles Smith scored 10 in defeat. The Lithuanian champs, who outrebounded Efes 35-23, now go on the road to challenge Entente Orleanaise in France, while Efes entertains Partizan in its home opener.

Defense and muscle defined a hard-fought first quarter with L. Rytas taking the lead thanks to its superior ball movement and aggressive play under the boards. Baynes drew first blood for L. Rytas with a slam off a miss by Popovic. Daniel Santiago matched his dunk off an inbounds pass by Rakocevic, and Smith hit an acrobatic la up to give Efes the early lead. Milko Bjelica came off the bech and hit a layup off a cut down the lane, and Popovic threaded a pass to Gecevicus cutting along the baseline for a reverse layin. More nice ball movement ended in layup by Bjelica to reclaim the lead. Rakocevic got a finger roll to fall to moments later, but Bjelica banged home a bank shot after muscling into the post. Rakocevic stepped up and drilled a three-pointer, but Bjelica once again got 2 more off another offensive board. Kerem Tunceri drove in and applied a soft touch to get a layin to fall off the glass to cut the lead to 1 before the TV timeout with three minutes to play in the first. Out of the timeout, Popovic converted a two-plus-one when hacked from behind by Kaya Peker on a floater in the lane. Gecevicius hit a mid-range jumper and a layup on consecutive possessions to give the home team a 19-13 lead, but Bostjan Nachbar answered for Efes with a three from the wing. Zavackas made 2 from the line to give L. Rytas a 21-16 lead going into the second quarter.

Igor Rakocevic - Efes PilsenDejan Borovnjak scored in the post to open the second period as L. Rytas began to completely intimidate the visitors in the paint. Nachbar was forced to take it outside and drilled a three to cut the lead to 23-19. Gecevicius hit a jumper from the baseline and the Lithuanian champs continued to dominate the boards, 18-7, with five minutes to play in the half. Out of an Efes, timeout Steponas Babrauskas hit a three to give L. Rytas its first double-digit lead. Smith responded to a jumper by Popovic with a three-pointer, but Baynes then powered in 2 points in the post and Zavackas added 2 free throws. Smith managed to get a long fade away to fall, but once again Baynes smashed his way to the bucket and put back his own miss between three Efes defenders to send L. Rytas into the break up 38-25. L. Rytas Limited Efes to only three exterior shots and one free throw in that quarter while totally dominated the paint on both ends.

Gecevicius drained a deep three to give L. Rytas a 41-25 lead to open the third. Tunceri answered with a triple of his own, but Zavackas dropped another bomb and Baynes was left totally open for a dunk, 46-28. Baynes collected his third offensive board off the rim and slammed it home for his 10th point. Bootsy Thorton, knowing his team needed a boost, drove in for two points. Then Baynes took over. The center got 2 points from the line, made a massive block on defense, and then worked down low for an easy layup for a 52-35 lead. Shumpert hit a three from the wing, but Zavackas matched him from the top of the key and then notched 2 from the line.The Lithuanian champs kept pouring it on with a three by Babrauskas for their biggest lead, 60-38, on a play that saw Tunceri go off with a slight limp . Smith hit his second three-pointer and Rakocevic hit back-to-back threes to cut the lead to 60-44, but Popovic drained a jumper from the key. Mario Kasun’s first 2 points came on a dunk to end the quarter at 62-46.

Rakocevic notched his 10th point of the encounter going 1 for 2 from the line to get the lead down to 15 in the opening moments of the final period. After a subsequent turnover, L. Rytas head coach Kurtinaitis called for time to settle his squad. Smith took advantage of another L. Rytas giveaway driving in from the wing for a dunk to cut the lead to 62-51, and the jitters of the crowd began to be heard. Gecevicius calmed the home fans with a deep three, and after a layup by Shumpert, the L. Rytas guard struck again from downtown to push the lead to 68-55. Gecevicius then drained his fifth three-pointer to effectively put the game out of reach, 71-55, with five minutes to play. Efes got to within ten points on a Kasun put back and 2 free throws by Thornton. But it was too little, too late, especially after Popovic flipped in a pretty layup. Efes pressed in the final moments and a Kasun slam cut the lead to 77-70 in the waning seconds of the L. Rytas victory.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Euroleague.net
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Referees: ZIEMBLICKI, GRZEGORZ (POL), VOJINOVIC, MILIJA (SRB), SHULGA, BORIS (UKR)
Attendance: 7000
By Quarter1234
Lietuvos Rytas21172415
Efes Pilsen1692124
End of Quarter1234
Lietuvos Rytas21386277
Efes Pilsen16254670
Lietuvos Rytas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 POPOVIC, BOJAN 40:00 11 5/7 0/3 1/1   3 3 10 3 5 1 2 2 5 19
5 BABRAUSKAS, STEPONAS 16:05 6   2/3     2 2           1   6
10 BOROVNJAK, DEJAN 9:05 2 1/3       3 3     2 2   4   -1
11 BJELICA, MILKO 12:04 8 4/5 0/1   3 1 4     2     3 2 7
13 GECEVICIUS, MARTYNAS 38:17 21 3/4 5/8     3 3 2 1       1 3 25
14 ZAVACKAS, DONATAS 35:32 15   2/6 9/10 2 4 6 2   4 2 1 4 5 16
15 BUTERLEVICIUS, SIMAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 JOMANTAS, ARTURAS 26:33   0/3 0/1     3 3 2 1 1     3 2  
22 SINICA, JUSTAS 2:31         2   2           1   1
31 BAYNES, ARON 19:53 14 6/10   2/2 5 1 6 1   3 4 1 5 3 15
41 BRAZDAUSKIS, LUKAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
55 DAINYS, EVALDAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Team           1 2 3     3          
Totals 200:00 77 19/32 9/22 12/13 13 22 35 17 5 20 9 4 24 20 88
        59.4% 40.9% 92.3%
Head coach: KURTINAITIS, RIMAS
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Efes Pilsen
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 KASUN, MARIO 18:56 9 4/5 0/1 1/2 5   5     1 2   2 4 14
7 SMITH, CHARLES 20:15 10 2/5 2/4         1       1 2   3
8 RAKOCEVIC, IGOR 31:04 11 1/5 2/4 3/6 1 2 3 4 1 2   4 2 4 6
9 SHUMPERT, PRESTON 22:49 12 3/6 2/3   1   1 1   1   1     8
10 TUNCERI, KEREM 18:26 5 1/1 1/4         1   1         2
11 THORNTON, BOOTSY 31:21 8 2/5 0/2 4/4 1 3 4 4 2 3   1 4 4 9
14 PEKER, KAYA 12:03 4 1/4   2/4 1 3 4 3       1 3 3 5
21 NACHBAR, BOSTJAN 25:50 8   2/3 2/2   1 1       2   2 3 11
23 KUQO, ERMAL DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
25 SANTIAGO, DANIEL 6:36 2 1/1     1   1     3     4 4  
32 GULER, SINAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
33 ARSLAN, ENDER 12:40 1 0/1 0/1 1/2   1 1         1 1 2 -1
Team           1 2 3     2         1
Totals 200:00 70 15/33 9/22 13/20 11 12 23 14 3 13 4 9 20 24 58
        45.5% 40.9% 65%
Head coach: ATAMAN, ERGIN

Head Coaches

KURTINAITIS, RIMAS
Lietuvos Rytas
"I am very glad about this win. It's our first one, I hope it's not the last. Our guys are young but hungry. They haven't earned their names yet, but won this important game. I am not only glad about the win, I enjoyed our style as well. Our hard work paid off. We have been preparing hard to play against stronger-on-paper teams. We have shaped our style, aggressiveness, with time. We succeeded tonight. I was worried before the game because I couldn't tell how tough we were. Also, I think some guys were a bit worried about playing in the Euroleague for the first time in their careers. We started off well, panicked a bit later. I am pleasantly surprised with what Aaron Baynes did tonight. He was one of our leaders: active in defensive pick-'n'-rolls, rebounding. I hope to see him even better in the future. Gecevicius is also way better than last season."
ATAMAN, ERGIN
Efes Pilsen
"We have a great team on paper but sometimes even such teams cannot prove their potential on the court. Our players had looked at Lietuvos Rytas roster and probably thought an easy game was ahead. Not surprisingly, we started the game very poorly. Our opponents were much better in rebounding. We didn't stick to our plan in the first half and, though we did better after the break and cut the deficit, Gecevicius hit some important triples and they ran further again. Lietuvos Rytas is a very young and talented team. They deserved to win tonight. I have no doubts that every team will have a lot of problems when they come to Vilnius this season."

Players

GECEVICIUS, MARTYNAS
Lietuvos Rytas
"I wanted to prove both to myself and to all the others that I am improving. After last season, I was confident I can play the way I like and the game I'm good at. The victory was decided by our committed efforts on the defensive end. Efes Pilsen was different, they were relying more on individual capabilities. Thus our main task was to catch their stars one by one. I am glad we did that."
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