Martynas Gecevicius scored 34 points on 8-of-10 three-point shooting as host Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius defeated EWE Baskets Oldenburg 99-87 to reach the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds final. Rytas will play either Telenet Ostend or Banvit Bandirma in Friday’s game for a place in Euroleague regular season Group D. The hosts took the lead for good midway through the second quarter, with Gecevicius hitting 5 triples in those 10 minutes. Omar Cook added 14 points in victory, while Steponas Babrauskas and Juan Palacios had 10 apiece. Chris Kramer scored 24 points in defeat. Nemanja Aleksandrov added 15, Dru Joyce 13, Konrad Wysocki 11, and Andrea Crosariol finished with 10 for EWE Baskets, which will compete in 2013-14 Eurocup.
Both sides had a great offensive display in the first half. Things started with Palacio scoring inside and Gecevicius from long range for Rytas, but point guard Joyce and big men Crosariol and Aleksandrov soon got it going for EWE Baskets. Aleksandrov's three-pointer helped for 9-13, but Cook and Milenko Tepic hit triples on the other end to get Rytas back in front. With perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line, Rytas held a 23-20 edge after the first quarter, and Tepic fueled a run at the start of the second with a steal, layup and a no-look assist for a Gecevicius triple, 30-22. Kramer rallied EWE Baskets, and Wysocki had a three-pointer and a reverse layup for his team to regain the lead, 35-36 midway through the quarter. But Gecevicius was red-hot from behind the 6.75-meter line, hitting 3 more triples before halftime, and a total of 5 three-pointers in the second quarter alone. It carried Rytas to a 7-point margin and 53-46 advantage at the break.
Cook opened the third quarter with a triple, and added 4 more points to his tally, extending the lead to 62-52. But Aleksandrov hit a triple and a jumper, and Kramer made couple of baskets to quickly half the deficit. But, EWE Basktes never got any closer. Palacios with two baskets, and Gecevicius with his seventh triple, made sure the hosts would not let the margin slip below 5 points. Rytas entered the fourth quarter up 71-65, as Palacios and Tautvydas Lideka put-back kept the lead safe at the start of the final 10 minutes. EWE Baskets stayed close through Crosariol and Wysocki. A layup-plus-foul from Aleksandrov made it 79-74, and Julius Jenkins from downtown cut it within 87-81. However, Gecevicius replied on the ensuing possession with his eighth triple, before Cook and Renaldas Seibutis extended it to 94-81, sealing the deal.
Thursday, October 3, 2013