Hemofarm took an important step to reach the elimination rounds and rejoined the race to win Group A by beating Lietuvos Rytas 76-69 in Vrsac, Serbia on Tuesday night. Both teams tie atop the Group A standings each with a 4-2 record. Nebojsa Joksimovic had 14 of his 16 points in the second half to make Hemofarm get full control of the game after the break. Milos Markovic added 13 points while Stefan Markovic had 10 for the winners, who outrebounded Rytas by 31-24. Roberts Stelmahers had 14 points for Rytas, Andre Emmett addeed 12 and Joao Paolo Batista 10 for the guests. It was a balanced game in the opening quarter, as a three-pointer by Stefan Markovic tied it at 19-19 after 10 minutes, but a 9-0 Hemofarm run and free throws by Milos Markovic allowed the hosts to keep a 36-33 edge at halftime. Milos Markovic had 5 points in a 10-0 Hemofarm run which broke the game early in the third quarter. A three-pointer by Roberts Stelmahers brought Rytas within 71-63 with 3 minutes to go, but Hemofarm managed to keep a safe lead all the way, even when the guests managed to get the tie-break advantage if both teams are tied at the end of the regular season.
Emmett scored around the basket on Rytas' first possession, but free throws by Milos Markovic and a put-back layup by Velimir Radinovic gave Hemofarm a 4-2 lead. Eurelijus Zukauskas scored in the other end, but Stefan Markovic and Radinovic kept the hosts ahead, 8-6. Andrius Slezas tied it with a layup but Stefan Markovic answered from downtown for a 11-8 Hemofarm edge. Free throws by Marijonas Petravicius and a short jumper by Mindaugas Lukauskis put Rytas back ahead, 11-12. Tomas Delininkaitis, Petravicius and Stelmahers allowed the guests to extend their margin to 14-19. A close basket by Miljan Rakic and a three-pointer by Stefan Markovic tied it at 19-19 after 10 minutes. Vladan Vukosavljevic opened the second quarter with consecutive layups, igniting a 9-0 Hemofarm run which Milenko Topic capped with a big triple, good for a 28-20 lead. Batista fed Emmett for a layup and then dunked it to force a Hemofarm timeout at 28-24. Milos Borisov followed a free throw with a layup off a steal, but Arturas Jomantas scored twice in the paint and fed Delininkaitis for a layup to get the guests within 31-30 after 17 minutes. Joksimovic and Emmett exchanged baskets, but free throws by Milos Markovic gave Hemofarm a 36-33 edge at halftime.
Joksimovic fired in a three-pointer right after the break, but Zukauskas replied with a layup and fed Emmett for another basket to get Rytas within 39-37. It didn't last long, however, as a free throw by Velimir Radinovic ignited a 10-0 run in which he added another dunk while Milos Markovic had 5 points, including one from downtown which gave Hemofarm its first double-digit lead, 49-37. Batista tried to change things with a layup and free throws, but only got Rytas within 51-43. He still found a close basket to which Rakic answered with a mid-range jumper. Titus Ivory made free throws and Batista dunked it, but Joksimovic hit 4 foul shots to keep Hemofarm ahead, 57-49, after three quarters. Borisov buried a three-pointer and Vukosavljevic added a put-back layup to give the hosts its biggest lead so far, 62-49. Stelmahers tried to ignit the Rytas comeback with a layup and Petravicius added a three-point play. Hemofarm called timeout at 64-54 to fix its offense, as Joksimovic scored again while Stefan Markovic dunked it off a steal to give the hosts a 12-point lead, 68-56, with 5 minutes to go. The outcome was clear and both teams fought for tie-break issues now, since Rytas had beaten Hemofarm by 12 in Vilnius. Free throws by Vukosavljevic gave Hemofarm a 75-64 margin with 2 minutes to go, but Emmett hit foul shots while Slezas buried a triple which allowed Rytas to leave Vrsac with the tie-break advantage despite its road loss.
Tuesday, December 5, 2006