Ulanovas's career effort leads Zalgiris past Efes
In a great battle that went down to the final seconds, Zalgiris Kaunas registered its second win in Group A by edging Anadolu Efes Istanbul 62-65 on the road on Thursday. Both teams are now tied in with 2-1 records. Edgaras Ulanovas paced the winners with 19 points and 7 rebounds. He had totaled 2 points in the opening two games. Arturas Milaknis added 14 points, while Robertas Javtokas scored 12 for Zalgiris. Nenad Krstic led Efes with 22 points. Javtokas shined early to lead Zalgiris to a 13-16 lead after 10 minutes. An outstanding Ulanovas and free throws by Lukas Lekavicius boosted Zalgiris's lead to 26-34 at halftime. A three-pointer by Milaknis gave Zalgiris its biggest margin, 38-50. Krstic and Dontaye Draper stepped up for Efes and a put-back layup by Cedi Osman made it 60-62 in the final minute. Draper committed a key turnover in crunch time and Ulanovas sealed his great performance with game-sealing free throws with 12.2 seconds remaining.
First quarter: Javtokas shines, Zalgiris leads
Milko Bjelica got Efes going with a close basket, as the hosts showed great aggressiveness in the opening minutes. Stephane Lasme had 2 blocks in as many minutes and a dunk by Dogus Balbay gave Efes a 4-0 start. Javtokas stepped up with a layup and Ulanovas soon tied it at 4-4. Stratos Perperoglou scored in the low post and a free throw by Matt Janning restored a 7-4 Efes lead. Javtokas kept pushing Zalgiris with an alley-oop layup. Lasme split free throws and a three-point play by Ulanovas gave Zalgiris its first lead, 8-9. James Anderson fed Javtokas for a layup, which Nenad Krstic matched with a baseline jumper. Gudaitis took over with a two-handed dunk and Lukas Lekavicius beat the shot clock with a wild three-pointer that boosted the guests' lead to 10-16. Krstic shined with a reverse layup to keep Efes within 13-16 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: late run keeps Zalgiris in front
Milaknis buried a three-pointer off a screen early in the second quarter. Milko Bjelica hit a jump hook that Anderson erased with a driving layup for a 14-21 Zalgiris cushion. Draper nailed a mid-range jumper and a layup by Bjelica got the crowd involved at 18-21. Krstic made free throws, as Zalgiris could not find the way to the basket without Paulius Jankunas and Javtokas on court. A big basket by Krstic put Efes back ahead, 22-21. Vaidas Karinaiuskas scored in penetration and a free throw by Javtokas gave Zalgiris fresh air at 22-24. Perperoglou hit foul shots, which Javtokas bettered with a three-point play. Janning took over with a reverse layup in traffic. After Jankunas split foul shots, a driving basket by Ulanovas made it a 4-point game. Ulanovas scored again and free throws by Lekavicius gave Zalgiris its biggest margin, 26-34, at halftime.
Third quarter: Krstic stars, but Zalgiris remains in front
Ulanovas sank a hook shot right after the break to give Zalgiris its first double-digit margin, 26-36. Krstic tried to change things with a three-point play, but Ulanovas hit another jump hook to keep the guests way ahead. Efes struggled to score, as Zalgiris improved its frontcourt defense on Krstic and Bjelica. Krstic found space for an uncontested dunk, which Draper followed with free throws to close within 33-38. After Javtokas hit a running hook, Draper split foul shots. A three-pointer by Milaknis kept the guests out of trouble at 34-43. Krstic followed free throws with a layup, but Milaknis and Darius Songaila restored a 38-47 Zalgiris lead. Efes tried a taller lineup with Lasme and Krstic together on court. Milaknis struck from downtown, but a layup by Perperoglou and a five-meter jumper by Krstic gave Efes hope, 42-50.
Fourth quarter: Efes rallies, Zalgiris stays on top
Bjelica stepped up with a quick basket early in the fourth quarter, as Efes raised its intensity level on defense. Songaila scored a big basket, which Lasme matched with a layup to make it 46-52. Ulanovas split free throws before Perperoglou hit 2 from the line and a three-pointer by Draper brought Efes as close as 51-53. Ulanovas silenced the crowd with a bomb from downtown, but Osman banked in a jumper off a timeout. Milaknis fired in a bomb from behind the arc and Draper fed Lasme for a dunk, but Zalgiris kept a 55-59 edge with two minutes remaining. Free throws by Jankunas and Ulanovas seemed to seal the outome, 55-62, with 1:25 left. Krstic took over with a three-point play. Kariniauskas missed a shot and a follow-up layup by Osman made it 60-62 with 45 seconds remaining. Ulanovas and Draper traded turnovers and Efes fouled Ulanovas, who made free throws with 12.2 seconds remaining, allowing Zalgiris to celebrate a well-deserved road win.
Thursday, October 30, 2014