Palacios shines in Rytas's pivotal road win
Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius improved its chances to reach the Eurocup Eighthfinals from Last 32 Group P by downing Besiktas Integral Forex Istanbul 63-84 on the road on Wednesday. Both teams are tied for first place in Group P, each with a 3-2 record, but Rytas has the tie-break advantage over Besiktas. Both Besiktas and Rytas will qualify with a win next week, regardless of other scores. Rytas hosts Cedevita Zagreb, while Besiktas visits CAI Zaragoza. Juan Palacios led the winners with 22 points on 10-of-14 two-point shooting and 7 rebounds. Zab Dowdell added 13 points on 5-of-5 two-point shooting, while Omar Cook dished 7 assists for Rytas. Doron Perkins led Besiktas with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Colton Iverson added 13 points for the hosts, who led 33-32 near halftime. A 0-13 run that Palacios capped with a layup put Rytas ahead for good, 33-44. The guests boosted their margin to 42-58 after 30 minutes and then to 47-73 midway through the fourth quarter, enough to cruise to a well-deserved road win.
Cook got Rytas going with a three-pointer. Darius Songaila shined with back-to-back baskets and a jumper by Palacios soon gave the guests a 4-9 lead. Gediminas Orelik shined with a put-back basket that Mehmet Yagmur bettered with a three-pointer. Martynas Gecevicius hit a jumper, Iverson shined with a layup-plus-foul but Cook answered from downtown for a 10-16 Rytas lead. Perkins stepped up with a three-point play and Iverson scored again but Gecevicius and Stevan Jelovac kept Rytas ahead, 16-22, after 10 minutes. Besiktas held the guests scoreless for more than 4 minutes. Meanwhile, a 6-0 run that Ryan Broekhoff capped with a put-back layup tied it at 22-22. Gecevicius made free throws and consecutive baskets by Palacios gave Rytas fresh air at 26-28. Palacios scored again, and again, but a dunk by Osman Sirin made the guests call timeout at 30-32. A three-pointer by Chris Lofton gave Besiktas its first lead, 33-32. Dowdell answered from downtown and a three-point play by Orelik restored a 33-38 Rytas edge at halftime.
Dowdell hit a jumper right after the break and soon added a layup for a 33-42 Rytas lead. A layup by Palacios capped a game-changing 0-13 run that gave the guests their first double-digit lead, 33-44. Iverson stepped up with a close basket but Songaila, Tautvydas Lideka and Renaldas Seibutis combined for all points in a 0-8 L. Rytas run that gave the guests a 17-point margin, 35-52. Caner Topaloglu and Songaila traded layups but Perkins and Iverson gave Besiktas hope at 42-54. Seibutis and Jelovac boosted the guests' margin to 42-58 after 30 minutes. Jelovac scored again and Palacios added a jumper but Perkins and Lofton brought Besiktas a bit closer, 47-62. It didn't last long, however, as a three-pointer by Stepas Babrauskas sparked an 0-11 run that Palacios capped with a put-back layup that sealed the outcome, 47-73, with 6 minutes left. Nothing changed from that moment, as L. Rytas boosted its margin to 52-80 and had plenty of time to celebrate a pivotal, much-needed road win.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014