2019-20Regular SeasonRound 25
February 20, 2020 CET: 21:00
Local time: 21:00 BUESA ARENA

Zalgiris's defense stops Baskonia

Zalgiris Kaunas grabbed its fourth win in its last five games by topping KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 60-74 at Fernando Buesa Arena on Thursday. Zalgiris improved to 10-15 in the standings while Baskonia dropped to 9-16. Edgaras Ulanovas led the winners with 15 points, Lukas Lekavicius added 13 and Zach LeDay had 11 for Zalgiris. Semaj Christon paced Baskonia with 17 points and Toko Shengelia added 12 for the hosts. Baskonia's led 35-30 at halftime, but Zalgiris limited the home team to 10 third-quarter points. Thomas Walkup and Lekavicius pushed the visitors to a 45-51 edge after 30 minutes and Zalgiris kept excelling on defense and sealed the outcome long before the final buzzer.

Shengelia got Baskonia going with a mid-range jumper and Shavon Shields dunked for a 4-0 lead. Arturas Milaknis struck from downtown and Ulanovas matched Michael Eric's layup with a power basket to keep Zalgiris within 6-5. Ulanovas soon added a floater to give the visitors their first lead, 6-7. Matt Janning struck from downtown and Ilimane Diop hit his trademark jumper from the elbow to give Baskonia fresh air at 11-7. Christon and Zoran Dragic stepped up for the hosts, getting help from Achille Polonara to boost their team's lead to 17-9. LeDay brought Zalgiris within 17-13 after 10 minutes. Diop and Lekavicius exchanged jumpers early in the second quarter. Youssoupha Fall added a layup, which caused Zalgiris to stop the game at 21-15. Nigel Hayes hit a turnaround jumper, igniting a 0-6 run that Ulanovas capped with a jump hook that tied it at 21-21. Christon downed a couple of three-pointers and fed Shengelia for a close basket to give Baskonia fresh air at 29-23. Ulanovas answered from beyond the arc and Martinas Geben dunked to keep the visitors close at 29-28. Christon scored again, Shields downed a jumper and Shengelia added a power layup that established a 35-30 Baskonia lead at halftime.

Lekavicius struck from beyond the arc and erased Shengelia's driving layup with a floater that brought Zalgiris within 37-35. He soon found LeDay for a jumper and Walkup added a triple that gave the visitors the lead, 39-40. LeDay joined the three-point shootout, but Shengelia tied the game at 43-43. Milaknis buried a circus shot and got help from Lekavicius and Walkup to give Zalgiris a 45-51 margin after 30 minutes. Hayes hit a mid-range jumper early in the fourth quarter and KC Rivers added a three-pointer that made it a double-digit game, 45-56. Christon tried to ignite Baskonia's comeback with a triple that Geben erased with a layup-plus-foul. Ulanovas sank a corner triple, but Polonara and Pierria Henry gave Baskonia hope, 53-62, with over 3 minutes left. Walkup beat the shot clock buzzer with a three-pointer that sealed the outcome, 53-65, allowing dozens of Zalgiris fans in the stands to celebrate a convincing road win.

Pivotal performer

Edgaras Ulanovas always hit the right shot at the right time, making the difference in the second half. He finished the game with 15 points on 3-of-5 two-point shooting and 3-of-5 from downtown plus 7 rebounds - 5 on the offensive end, 1 steal and 3 fouls drawn for a performance index rating of 15.

Game-changing moment

Toko Shengelia tied the game for Baskonia at 43-43 late in the third quarter. Arturas Milaknis beat the shot clock with a circus shot - his corner three-point shot touched the glass, but he got the ball back and put it in. That ignited a 2-13 run that KC Rivers capped with a bomb from downtown that gave Zalgiris its first double-digit lead, 45-56. The visitors had full control of the game from that moment until the final buzzer.

Stellar stat

Zalgiris heavily outrebounded Baskonia 22-43, including 17 offensive boards. It was the second-best rebounding mark for Zalgiris this season - the Lithuanian champs pulled down 44 boards against ALBA Berlin on January 24. Additionally, Baskonia's 22 rebounds were its lowest mark at home in almost a decade. Its lowest (21) came against Zalgiris on November 10, 2010 and against Rytas Vilnius on March 5, 2008.

Did you notice?

A moment of silence took place before the game to honor the late Selver Dzigal, who passed away in Barcelona, Spain at age 36. Selver was a highly-respected member of the Euroleague Basketball Competitions Department, where he worked since 2007.

Next game

Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action next week. Baskonia hosts Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on Thursday, February 27. Zalgiris welcomes AX Armani Exchange Milan the following evening.

Lukas Lekavicius - Zalgiris Kaunas - EB19
Thursday, February 20, 2020
Euroleague.net
Referees: BOLTAUZER, MATEJ; GKONTAS, SPIROS; KOLJENSIC, MILOS
Attendance: 10068
By Quarter1234
KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz17181015
Zalgiris Kaunas13172123
End of Quarter1234
KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz17354560
Zalgiris Kaunas13305174
KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 GONZALEZ, MIGUEL DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6 CHRISTON, SEMAJ 30:55 17 3/5 3/6 2/2       2   1     3 3 13
7 HENRY, PIERRIA 11:26 6 1/3 1/3 1/1           1     1 2 2
11 JANNING, MATT 22:01 3 0/2 1/3     2 2     1     2 3 1
12 DIOP, ILIMANE 13:05 4 2/2       2 2     1     2 1 4
17 GARCIA, SERGI 3:41               1             1
19 FALL, YOUSSOUPHA 13:57 2 1/4     3 1 4         1 1 3 4
23 SHENGELIA, TORNIKE 28:20 12 6/7 0/3   1 2 3 5 1 3     3 3 14
30 DRAGIC, ZORAN 17:24 2 1/3 0/1 0/1 1 2 3 1 1       1 2 4
31 SHIELDS, SHAVON 30:34 4 2/5 0/3     5 5 5   2   1 5    
33 POLONARA, ACHILLE 16:53 6 2/4 0/1 2/2 1 2 3   1   3   2 2 10
50 ERIC, MICHAEL 11:44 4 2/2           2 1 2     2   3
Team                     1         -1
Totals 200:00 60 20/37 5/20 5/6 6 16 22 16 4 12 3 2 22 19 55
        54.1% 25% 83.3%
Head coach: IVANOVIC, DUSKO
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
Zalgiris Kaunas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 WALKUP, THOMAS 29:48 8 1/2 2/4   1 2 3 6 1 4       1 12
1 RIVERS, KC 19:31 3 0/1 1/7   1 1 2   1 1     1 1 -2
4 LEKAVICIUS, LUKAS 22:57 13 4/7 1/3 2/2 1 1 2 3   1     1 3 14
10 HAYES, NIGEL 22:20 8 4/6 0/2 0/1 1 5 6 1   1   2 1 1 7
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS 17:01   0/3       4 4 1 1       4 4 3
16 LUKOSIUNAS, KAROLIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 MILAKNIS, ARTURAS 14:25 7 1/1 1/4 2/2 1 1 2           3 1 4
23 GEBEN, MARTINAS 9:51 7 3/4   1/1 1 3 4   1       1 1 11
31 JOKUBAITIS, ROKAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
32 LEDAY, ZACH 19:02 11 1/2 1/2 6/6 2 3 5 1   2 1 1 2 5 16
34 LANDALE, JOCK 11:07 2 1/1     2 1 3 1   3 1   4 2 2
92 ULANOVAS, EDGARAS 33:58 15 3/5 3/5 0/1 5 2 7 1 1 5     2 3 15
Team           2 3 5     1         4
Totals 200:00 74 18/32 9/27 11/13 17 26 43 14 5 18 2 3 19 22 86
        56.3% 33.3% 84.6%
Head coach: JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS

Head Coaches

IVANOVIC, DUSKO
KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz
"Our [playoff] chances are smaller every day, but are still there. We still have a slim chance and are going to fight. Before the game, it was key for us to be patient for all 40 minutes to play defense and be focused. We lacked this focus. Then there is the rebounds, especially in the first half, when we could have had a little bigger lead, they used rebounds to return to the game. A team that has problems on offense, but in order to win the game, it has to play much stronger on defense. We were hanging in there without scoring until some point in the game, in which we fell down. We couldn't hold on for 40 minutes. It is true that, during the break, they had three games to stay in shape and we didn't, but I don't think it had an impact on this game. The rebound is not always for the biggest one, but for the one who fights for it. For instance, Ulanovas, who is not a big player, had 5 offensive rebounds. And above all, I believe they were all in the first half. That was the big difference; the rebound always goes to the player who wants it, who fights for it, who is focused. And we were just looking. Every team can have problems on offense - because the other team plays well, or it is not your best day, or you are not talented enough on offense. But in order to play defense, we need to have this talent and desire to play defense. We had it for 27-28 minutes, but not after that."
JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS
Zalgiris Kaunas

"I think our defense was good throughout the game. We did some mental mistakes which they are always going to happen, but the defense was pretty consistent and our fighting spirit. Our heads were not very clear but in the second half we made some better decisions, we hit some shots and usually, like we always say, shots help a lot. I have four days off right now. I don't care about two home games coming up. I am going to enjoy my time off right now!"

"I wanted to congratulate our team for its great effort. It is not easy to play this kind of game after winning the cup. It was very important to win even if it was by 1 point, but we also got the tiebreak advantage against Baskonia. I don't think it is going to be important, but it is better to have it. I believe that, all game long, we played very correct defense and on offense, we played much better in the second half. Above all, we hit some outside shots and that allowed us to break the game. I am surprised about the numbers, because truth to be told, Baskonia averages 12 offensive rebounds and have very tall players, but we had a lot of desire. But our heads were not very clear in the first half. Our heads improved in the second half and kept the same desire. Like I said, the games played after the cup are hard to win. We have to rest a little bit because the cup requires a lot of effort."

Players

ULANOVAS, EDGARAS
Zalgiris Kaunas
"Most important is that we won today and we won by more than 12 points. It is important: we lost at home by 12 points. First of all, it was important to win because in the first half, we didn't play well and were losing, but we are happy for the victory. Every game, right now, is like a small final for us because the standings are close at that moment. Every victory is important and winning on the road in the EuroLeague is very difficult so we are very happy."
LEDAY, ZACH
Zalgiris Kaunas
"It was good to get a win regardless. We will take all the wins that we can get. We have been fighting and improving as a team. We are really young and Coach went on us hard. We have been working, so the work is starting to pay off. We just have to go game by game and if we focus on us, then we will be alright. But if we focus on anybody else, we can't control that. Just focus on what we can control."