Lietuvos Rytas of Lithuania enjoyed its first win in the Euroleague, and did it in big fashion with a huge road win at Winterthur FC Barcelona by 91-97 in a Group B game. Three-pointers flew all night, but the guests started fast with an inspired Fred House and never looked back as the most Barcelona could do was close the third period down a point, 61-62. In the last quarter, Roberts Stelmahers appeared for 9 straight points and 13 overall in the period to launch Lietuvos Rytas to the victory. Lietuvos Rytas is now 1-2 in the standings, the same as Barcelona. Matt Nielsen was the best scorer for the winners with 27 points. House added 23, including 4 of 7 triples. Stelmahers nailed 19 and Robertas Javtokas stepped up with 8 points and 13 valuable rebounds for Lietuvos Rytas. Barcelona had in Shammond Williams its best scorer with 27 points, including 5 of 9 three-pointers. Gianluca Basile added 18, Juan Carlos Navarro 14, Michalis Kakiouzis 11 and Gregor Fucka 10. The guests outrebounded the hosts by 26-38, as 16 of those were in the offensive end.
Denis Marconato jumped in the tip-off reaching his 100th game in the Euroleague, but it wasn't until three plays later, Shammond Williams stopped the fastbreak to nail a long jumper, replied by Roberts Stelmahers from downtown, 2-3. Fred House stepped up for 4 straight points including a steal and Lietuvos Rytas was already ahead by 2-7. Barcelona tried the man-to-man defense but Juan Carlos Navarro allowed House an 8-meter three that went right in, 2-10. Michalis Kakiouzis broke the 0-12 run with a clear layup in the paint for 4-12, but Lietuvos Rytas defended tough and never allowed easy options for the hosts, and at the same time, Robertas Javtokas scored again, 4-16. The hosts didn't find their rhythm and on the other side Matt Nielsen hit the three-point play for an astounding 7-21. Gianluca Basile found Rodrigo De la Fuente in the paint for a Barcelona basket, but House put an end to the first period with a three on the buzzer, 12-25.
The second quarter started with 4 straight points by Jordi Trias and Basile added a triple for 19-27, but after a 0 of 8 triples in the previous two games, House scored his third bomb of the night to make the Palau Blaugrana quiet, 19-30. The game then turned into a three-point shootout as Mindaugas Lukauskis hit one but Basile and Williams replied with one each, 25-35. The hosts were on fire now, and the run went up to 12-2 as Marconato hit two baskets inside for 31-37. Tomas Delininkaitis broke the defense of Barcelona for a flashy layup, but Williams hit another bucket soon, 33-40, and right after that, he posted a new triple for 36-40. House replied in the same manner but Williams liked the game and answered with a 7-meter bomb for 39-43 and his 13th point in the quarter, and 50 seconds to finish the first half. The guests looked to House and Javtokas, with a hook in the paint, for a quick 0-4 run but Kakiouzis nailed two free throws to put an end to the second quarter, 41-47.
Nielsen stepped up with 4 points at the start of the second half, to which Stelmahers added a triple, 45-54. Nielsen found again the basket and Javtokas did the same as Lietuvos Rytas reached its average scoring in the two previous games, 58 points, only in minute 23. Williams slalommed through the guests' defense for the two-handed jam and Gregor Fucka made the jumper for 51-58. The biggest problems for Barcelona were to be found in rebounding, as Javtokas pulled his 12th to allow his team a second shooting-option once more. Williams went for his fourth triple and got it and after a timeout, Fucka posted the fallaway jumper that completed a 9-0 run and pulle the hosts within 2 points, 56-58. With the teams so close in the score, the players started to follow their hearts always loking for the hot shots. Navarro hit a monster triple but Stelmahers soon drove into the lane for 59-62. Ninety seconds went by without points until Basile scored two free throws to seal the third period, 61-62.
The hosts lost their momentum when the last period started, as Lietuvos Rytas posted a 0-8 run including 5 points by Nielsen and Simas Jasaitis' first triple for 61-70. Navarro stopped the bleeding from 6.25 and one free throw later for 65-70. The ball circulation of Lietuvos Rytas was flawless and the open three by Jasaitis fell in, 65-73 with less than 6 minutes to go. Basile and Lukauskis traded new triples reaching 20 between both teams, 68-76. Stelmahers put a double-digit lead again on the scoreboard, but Barcelona lived off triples again. Stelmahers practically repeated the previous play against a confused defense by the hosts, but kakiouzis had the three-point play and 3 minutes and 15 seconds to go, 74-80. Basile hit a two-plus-one and Stelmahers went for a new layup. Navarro stepped up for another triple from the side, 80-82. Stelmahers however, hit his 9th straight point with a new three and Haris Mujezinovic scored right after a Stelmahers steal, 80-87. The game entered the last minute with a 82-87, but Stelmahers hit two free throws making it 11 in the last quarter, and House did the same to seal the deal, as in the last seconds the hosts committed fouls to stop the clock, and the Lithuanian team cruised to its first Euroleague win.
Thursday, November 17, 2005