Rytas inches towards Top 16 with OT win in Turin
Behind a career-high 31 points from Rok Stipcevic, Rytas Vilnius pulled out a thrilling 96-101 overtime win over Fiat Turin to bring itself to the verge of a place in the Top 16 on Tuesday night. Rytas allowed a 16-point fourth quarter lead to slip away in this one, but eventually got a win which improved it to 4-5 and fourth place in Group D. Rytas will book a ticket to the Top 16 if Mornar Bar loses its Round 9 game on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Fiat remained winless, losing for the second time in overtime at home this season. Martynas Echodas collected a double-double with 14 points plus 11 rebounds in the victory, while Dallas Moore netted 26 points on 6-for-8 three-point shooting for Turin.
Moore and Tony Carr hit from long range for Fiat early on, but Stipcevic caught fire for the visitors. The Rytas point guard hit 3 triples in a span of two and a half minutes as the visitors opened an 11-20 lead. A three from Mindaugas Girdziunas helped open an 11-25, but Jamil Wilson scored 7 points and James McAdoo had a three-point play to cut it to 22-29 at the end of the first quarter. Rytas used three consecutive fast breaks to make it 24-35 early in the second. Carr and Carlos Delfino nailed three-pointers for the hosts to get within 32-35. Stipcevic knocked down his fourth triple before adding a runner to restore a double-digit margin and Dominique Sutton beat the halftime buzzer with a put-back that made it 36-47. Threes from Deividas Sirvydis and Stipcevic, his fifth, helped extend the margin to 41-57, but Moore nailed three three-pointers before Delfino's basket made it 52-61. Echodas nailed a corner-three that helped stop the bleeding and the visitors entered the fourth quarter up 57-69. A dunk by Echodas increased it to 16 points early in the fourth, but Turin melted the deficit through Wilson, Moore and McAdoo. Triples from Hobson, Moore and Carr made it 77-79. Delfino's three got Fiat within 83-84 with 36 seconds to go in regulation and Carr made free throws with 4.3 seconds in regulation to send the game into overtime at 86-86. In the extra session, Darington Hobson's triple made it 93-90, but Seeley and Echodas connected on an alley-oop dunk before Arnas Butkevicius hit a corner triple and Girdziunas a tough fadeaway jumper to make it 93-96 with 55 seconds to go in overtime. A step-back jumper from Butkevicius with 17.6 seconds sealed the outcome.
A late Rytas signing, Rok Stipcevic entered this game with 60 EuroCup appearances and exactly 600 points scored. He had 16 points in the first half and finished with a career-high 31 on 6-for-10 three-point shooting. He also had 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals, in just his third appearance for Rytas.
With Turin holding a 94-92 lead with less than two minutes to go in overtime, forward Arnas Butkevicius knocked down a triple for Rytas to regain the lead. But Butkevicius did not stop there. He stole Fiat's ensuing inbound pass and a minute later blocked a potential game-tying three-point attempt from Darlington Hobson before sealing the victory with a tough jumper with 17.6 seconds left to make it 94-99.
Rytas had 11 offensive rebounds and its forward Martynas Echodas had 5, which is one more than the entire home team in this overtime game.
Fiat's comeback effort
The hosts were down by 16 points twice, 57-73 with nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter, but mounted a comeback behind Dallas Moore, who hit 6 three-pointers and led the way as Fiat set a club record with 17 three-pointers. Fiat also got contributions from Dominique Hobson, who finished with 18 points. Carlos Delfino netted 14, Tony Carr added 13 and James McAdoo 11 in a loss.
In Round 10
Rytas hosts Mornar Bar and it might enter that game already qualified for the Top 16 (if Mornar loses its Round 9 game on Wednesday), or in the worst-case scenario Rytas will advance of its wins or if loses by 23 or fewer points. Fiat will end its EuroCup journey for this season with a visit to Unicaja Malaga.
Tuesday, December 11, 2018