Montepaschi Siena outlasted Lietuvos Rytas 75-79
Montepaschi Siena escaped from Lithuania with a hard-fought 75-79 victory at Lietuvos Rytas to improve to 2-0 in Turkish Airlines Euroleague Group C. Vilnius native Rimantas Kaukenas scored 16 points against his former team and Bo McCalebb added 14 for the Italian champs, who host Cibona Zagreb next week. The game was close throughout the fourth quarter, but the visitors came up with clutch baskets to stay just ahead and held on to win. Ksystof Lavrinovic added 13 points and 7 rebounds for the winners and David Moss and Milovan Rakovic netted 10 each. Milko Bjelica scored 18 to lead L. Rytas, which drops to 0-2 and faces an important encounter at Cholet Basket next week. Kenan Bajramovic tallied 14 points and 11 rebounds, rising star Jonas Valanciunas scored 11 and Khalid El-Amin produced 11 points and 4 assists in his Euroleague debut.
The two teams played at a slow pace in the opening minutes, as Lietuvos Rytas found success with Valanciunas inside and the teenager helped his team to an 11-6 start. Montepaschi stepped up on the defensive end and got back with Shaun Stonerook nailing a triple. The visitors couldn’t make things work on offense and after Valanciunas pushed through once more, Bajramovic converted twice from the line and Bjelica added a fastbreak layup to make it was fixed at 17-11. But when Valanciunas rested, the hosts attack stalled and the first quarter ended with the hosts ahead 21-15.
Arvydas Siksnius and Bjelica stretched the L. Rtas advantage to double digits at the start of the second quarter. Montepaschi answered with a 0-7 run led by Kaukenas and Lavrinovic, forcing a Lietuvos Rytas timeout with the score at 25-22. Nearly two minutes passed without a basket for either team until Igor Milosevic finally changed the score from the line and fed Brad Newley for a fastbreak lay-up. Valanciunas came back and scored again as the pace sped up. The visitors gained the momentum as Tomas Ress and Pietro Aradori collaborated for three triples to bounce Montepaschi up to 33-31. And
after Bajramovic and Lavrinovic exchanged baskets in the paint, the teams went to the lockers with the score knotted at 39-39 at halftime.
Bjelica opened the second half with free throws, but Rakovic converted his and added a flashy dunk off a nice dish by McCalebb to put Montepaschi in front 41-43. Lietuvos Rytas answered with points by El-Amin and Newley, but Stonerook put the visitors on equal terms again. An aggressive toe-to-toe fight continued with El-Amin and Rakovic exchanging baskets. After three minutes of super aggressive defensive efforts by both teams, a red-hot El-Amin got to the line and sank 2. McCalebb then outplayed him in the paint and after Bjelica stepped up with a basket-plus-foul, he took a steal to score again. Kaukenas scored twice to put Siena back ahead, 54-55. After his seventh consecutive point off a triple and the first points by Nikos Zisis, Montepaschi went ahead 56-60. Milosevic ended a drought with a penetration to get to 58-60.
A triple by Bjelica, - the first one in the game for Lietuvos Rytas – changed the lead again, 61-60. But Siena combined for an important 0-6 run after shots by Lavrinovic, Moss, Kaukenas and gained a comfortable lead, 61-66. Bajramovic broke the silence with a fade-away jumper and El-Amin added free throws. Kaukenas silenced the crowd with a lay-up to put his team on top once more, 67-68. Lavrinovic and Bjelica exchanged
shots from in the paint, but then the Montepaschi’s Lithuanian converted a free throw and McCalebb had a steal and basket. Lietuvos Rytas then turned the ball over on three possessions in a row, but Bajramovic scored on the fourth attempt, 71-73. Montepaschi didn't shudder on their most important attack with seconds counting down: Lavrinovic coolly used McCalebb's assist and put in a layup. Martynas Gecevicius nailed a triple to keep his team within 74-75, however, Siena only needed three seconds for McCalebb to run away and finish the game at 74-77. A free throw by El-Amin didn't help as Montepaschi comfortably took the rebound after the second attempt and left Vilnius with a win.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010