In a thriller that will be remembered for some time by the Lithuanian basketball lovers who saw it live, host BC Siauliai knocked off previously undefeated Aris BSA 92-91 for its first victory of the season in Group C on Tuesday. Aris is now 2-1 and tied for first place with Hapoel Jerusalem, while Siauliai improves to 1-2, tied with Zadar for third. Siauliai rallied from 13 points behind entering the final quarter to win on the last shot taken by their team, a long jumper from Arvydas Siksnius, who led the winners with 25 points on 5-for-9 three-point shooting. Mindaugas Kuzminskas followed with 21 points and 7 rebounds, while Deividas Gailius added 17 and Derrick Low 16 for the winners, whose 34-24 rebounding edge was a key difference. For Aris, Jeremy Richardson pumped in 20 points, Juan Dixon 19 and Michailis Kakiouzis 18, while Nikos Hatzivrettas and Andy Betts added 12 each. Only 10 points were scored by the remaining Aris players, however.
Siauliai established its intentions with a quick 10-3 start that began with a triple by Gailius and ended with another by Mindaugas Kuzminskas. In less than 3 minutes, the hosts shot 2 for 5 from the arc, a pace they would keep up. The next 4 points by Gailius and a two-pointer by Kuzminskas stretched the lead to 16-8. Aris looked to veterans Michailis Kakouzis and Andy Betts to stay close, but Kuzminskas would not be denied, and when Ratis Grafs added his first basket, Siauliai had its first double-digit lead, 23-12. Aris finally found help from Dixon, Aaron Miles and Nikos Hatzivrettas, but Derrick low's late triple helped Siauliai retain a 28-22 advantage after 10 minutes. Dixon kept up the Aris push with a three-pointer early in the second quarter, but Lowe matched it and soon Siksnius copied him and added a pair of free throws to set Siauliai up with a 40-31 advantage. Betts, Demos Dikoudis, Dixon and Hatzivrettas responded with a 2-10 blast for Aris. Dixon's next triple set up game-tying free throws and a go-ahead put-back by Dikoudis for the first Aris lead, 46-49, just in time for the half.
Much like in the first half, Siauliai came out swinging from long distance in the second, as Siksnius buried back-to-back triples to forge a 54-54 tie. Kakiouzis, also from downtown, refused to give up the lead, leaving Dixon, Jeremy Richardson and Betts to drive another 0-9 run to put Aris in front 59-69. When Kakiouzis and Richardson buried back-to-back shots from the arc, Aris was looking to run away at 64-77 after 30 minutes. But Siauliai was not about to give up in front of its home fans. The fourth quarter started with Gailius and Low sharing 8 points, and when Kuzminskas stole and dunked, it was suddenly 74-79 and Aris needed a timeout. Kakiouzis ended the slide of the visitors, but Siauliai had the momentum and Low the moves, as his next two- and three-point combination made it an 80-81 game with less than 5 minutes to go. And Siksnius was on the loose. His next triple tied it up, 83-83, but Hatzivrettas answerd with the same shot for the guests. The lead change finally came for Siauliai when Gailius dropped a bomb from deep. Baskets by Dixon and Siksnius saw the lead switch hands, before Richardson took it back in the final minute for Aris with a huge triple at 90-91. But not huge enough. Siksnius had another chance, a deep jumper, but inside the arc, and he did not miss, giving Siauliai a big 92-91 victory, its first of the season before some very happy fans!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009