Euroleague QR: Lietuvos Rytas to face Ostend


Euroleague Group D is one step closer to having it’s sixth member as host club Lietuvos Rytas beat EWE Oldenburg 99:87, and Telenet Ostend defeated Banvit Bandirma 82:80 on Thursday setting up Friday’s final between Lietuvos and Ostend.

Lietuvos Rytas – EWE Oldenburg, 99:87
On the strength of an 8 for 10 performance behind the arc by Martynas Gecevicius that resulted in 34 points and a PIR of 36, the host club Lietuvos Rytas moved into the finals of the Euroleague Qualifying Round with a 99:87 win over EWE Oldenburg on Thursday. Not only was Gecevicius 8 of 10 from downtown, he shot 3 of 5 inside the arc and 4 of 4 from the free throw line, all in just 27:30 minutes of play.

In the first 10 Rytas opened the contest dropping the first five. With the score 9:6 in favor of the hosts, EWE went on a 7:0 run to get up 13:9 with three minutes to play in the frame. After nearly two minutes of scoreless play the squads went on a four basket exchange that took less than a minute and saw a lay-up, two triples, and a dunk, bringing the score to 18:17, EWE. Rytas hit the next six unanswered all from the charity stripe, and Jannik Freese threw down a dunk as time expired to close out the first frame with Rytas up 23:20.

The story in the second quarter was Gecevicius’ five three-balls that kept Lietuvos in front throughout the period. Rytas got up by eight, 32:24, only to have that margin sliced in half by two consecutive lay-ups by Oldenburg’s Chris Kramer. Gecevicius hit his first triple of the quarter to push the lead back to seven, but that was countered by a split pair of free throws and another lay-up shortly after by Kramer, then a three-ball by Konrad Wysocki, to bring EWE to within a point, 35:34. Wysocki dropped in a lay-up to give Oldenburg the lead, but Gecevicius knocked down his second three seconds later to swing the advantage back to Rytas. The clubs exchanged the lead four times over the next minute, until the third long-ball by Gecevicius gave Rytas some breathing room with a four-point margin, 44:40. Dru Joyce completed a three-point play to close the gap to a point, followed-up by triple number four by Gecevicius. Number five came less than a minute later, giving the host club a seven-point lead, 52:45. Each team split a pair of singles in the final seconds, sending the teams into the mid-game break with Rytas up 53:46.

Oldenburg picked off one point from the gap in the third in the only frame that they outscored the locals, sending the contest into the final quarter with Lietuvos up 71:65.

Over the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter EWE couldn’t get inside a six-point deficit as the hosts countered every basket. With the tally at 87:81 Rytas ran off six unanswered to get up 13, 94:81 and put the contest out of reach. Down the stretch Rytas hit seven of eight from the line, closing out the contest with a 99:87 win to keep their Euroleague aspirations alive.

Gecevicius was game-high with 34, Omar Cooke added 14, and Juan Palacios and Seponas Babrauskas each tallied 10 points.

Kramer was high-man for Oldenburg with 24 points and a PIR of 26. Nemanja Aleksandrov added 15, Joyce netted 13 points while dishing off 7 assists, and Wysocki contributed 11.

Telenet Ostend – Banvit Bandirma, 82:80
EuroleagueOstend put together a 13:0 run deep in the fourth quarter to take control of a contest that they found themselves trailing in late, only to come back and earn a spot in the final and a shot at the last spot in the Euroleague with am 82:80 win over Banvit Bandirma.

Banvit’s Sammy Mejia put together a 26 point, 35 PIR performance that included 10 of 12 from the free throw line and 5 of 8 inside the arc.

The lead changed hands numerous times in the first frame, with Banvit running off seven unanswered late in the quarter to get up by five at 18:13, only to have Ostend counter with six of their own to take the lead back, 19:18. Mejia split a pair of singles to close out the first 10 with the score knotted at 19.

After seven minutes of exchanging baskets and the lead in the second frame, Banvit ran off eight unanswered to go up by six, 41:35. First year pro, Jared Berggren put down two dunks, one ending in a three-point play, to pull Ostend back to within a deuce as the half ended with Banvit up 42:40.

Ermal Kuqo opened scoring for Banvit in the second half with a lay-up, followed by a pair of singles from Mejia, pushing Banvit’s lead to six, 46:40. After Andrija Stipanovic split a pair of singles, Keith Simmons extended the margin to eight with a long-ball. Ryan Thompson pulled Ostend back to within a deuce with a three-point play and four of four free throws. Mejia got a lay-up and then a rebound off a missed free throw that he took to hole on the other end for a dunk to extend the lead back to seven. Telenet wasn’t going away easily though and got a triple from Dusan Djordjevic, followed by four more singles from Thompson and a Berggren dunk that tied the score at 61. Berggren followed up with a pair of free throws, but Mejia went to the line twice after that, going four of four and giving Banvit a two-point advantage heading into the final frame, 65:63.

The lead expanded to five early in the fourth after a Kuqo lay-up, but Djordjevic knocked down a three for Ostend to start a 13:0 run for Ostend that would give them an eight point advantage 79:71 before Mejia would connect from long range, followed by another triple by Simmons, pulling Banvit back to within two, 79:77. Djordjevic dropped a pair of charity tosses for Ostend and Earl Rowland countered with a triple to cut the lead to a point, 81:80. Jean Salumu would hit the final point of the contest when he split a pair of singles to give Ostend an 82:80 advantage. Drew Gordon would miss the first of two free throws for Banvit with 5.4 left on the clock, then he missed the second in hopes of a rebound. Banvit did get the ball with 3.6 seconds and got it to Mejia on the in-bounds play, but he would come up empty on a jumper that would have tied the score at the buzzer.

Thompson led the way for Ostend with 19, including 11 of 12 from the line, Djordjevic added 14, and Berggren scored 11.

Mejia was game-high with 26 for Banvit, Rowland added 15, Davis scored 13, and Gordan added 10.

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