| Zalgiris Kaunas advanced to the semifinals of the Ciutat de L'Hospitalet tournament on Wednesday by beating Joventut Badalona 69-85. With the win, Zalgiris improved to 2-0 in Group B and could clinch first place even before its last group game later Wednesday evening. Joventut is now 1-1 and may or may not have to win its last group game on Wednesday to reach the semifinals. Tauras Jogela paced the winners with 17 points, while Justas Tamulis added 15 on 4-for-8 three-point shooting. Kaspars Vecvagars added 14 and Simonas Kymantas had 10 and 7 rebounds for Zalgiris. For Joventut, Albert Homs was unstoppable with 29 points and Guillem Vives followed with 11. Zalgiris crashed the boards from the start and moved the ball patiently in the half-court offense to set up Tamulis. The point guard hit 3 of 4 triple attempts for 12 first-half points, allowing his team to reach the break ahead 31-39. The leading scorer at halftime was Joventut guard Homs, who poured in 13 points while battling a 2-1-2 zone defense of Zalgiris with an impressive one-on-one display. Tamulis started the second half where he left off the first, with a triple. Zalgiris played a solid inside-out game, as well, to win the third period 18-14 despite Joventut’s attempts to push the tempo and close the defensive glass with towering, 2.27-meter Bienvenue Letuni on the floor. With a 45-57 score to start the final period, Zalgiris stayed in the driver's seat. Joventut's first triple in 18 attempts came off the hands of Sergio Salvador for a 52-69 score. Homs followed Jogela's slam with one of his own and then scored 4 straight points off steals to give Zalgirs a scare with 3 minutes left. Even as Joventut got within 9 points with 1:40 left, Jogela punctuated the win with an alley-oop dunk that sent Zalgiris soaring into the semis.
Wednesday, January 05, 2011