2006-07Regular SeasonRound 10
January 16, 2007 CET: 20:00
Local time: 21:00 SIEMENS ARENA

Lietuvos Rytas edging AEK Athens 86-80

Lietuvos Rytas became the Group A champion and entered the ULEB Cup elimination rounds draw as one of the four top-seeded teams by edging AEK Athens 86-80 in Vilnius, Lithuania in front of a sellout crowd of 11,000 fans at Siemens Arena on Tuesday. L. Rytas finished Group A tied for first place with Nancy, both with 7-3 records. Tie-break procedures applied and L. Rytas finished first due its 2-0 head-to-head record against Nancy during the regular season. Meanwhile, AEK finished sixth with a 2-8 record. Matt Nielsen and Kareem Rush paced the winners each with 17 points. Nielsen shot perfectly, making 7 of 7 two-pointers and 3 of 3 free throws, while Rush buried 4 of his 5 shots from downtown. Artutas Jomantas added 10 points while Janis Blums dished 11 assists for L. Rytas. Christos Tapoutos had 20 points for AEK, Nestoras Kommatos added 19, Nikos Vetoulas 18 and Prodomos Nikolaidis 15. L. Rytas rolled in the opening three quarters, leading 52-31 at halftime and boosting its margin to 81-56 with 7 minutes to go. Tapoutos and Kommatos fueled a 2-21 run that gave AEK some hope at 83-77 with 2 minutes to go, but the guests ran out of time to complete the rally.

L. Rytas got the first rebound and their first points as well as Mindaugas Lukauskis drove for an easy layup. Joao Paolo Batista also scored in the paint after Prodromos Nikolaidis dropped a triple for AEK. The visitors used long possessions to control the pace but were ineffective as L. Rytas ran a pair of fastbreaks and scored easily. Nikolaidis hit his second shot from downtown but Nielsen answered with free throws and a semi-hook off a nice dish by Blums. Jomantas ended a cozy 6-0 run as L. Rytas safely led 13-6 midway through the first quarter. Kommatos tried to initiate a comeback with 4 consecutive points for the visitors but Blums and fresh-off-the-bench Kareem Rush exploded with back-to-back triples and boosted the margin even higher, to 19-10. Rush added a driving layup but Kommatos and Nikolaos Vetoulas combined for 5 points and reduced the L. Rytas lead to 21-15. Blums landed another bomb from behind the arc to start the last minute of the quarter. It ended with Marijonas Petravicius slamming the ball for a 26-15 score after 10 minutes. Vetoulas started the second quarter with a triple for AEK, but so did Andrius Slezas for L. Rytas, which turned now to full-court pressure and fast offensive plays. The strategy worked as Rush downed a triple and Slezas added a fastbreak layup. AEK looked frustrated as the L. Rytas lead reached 16 points, 34-18. Kommatos responded with a hook and Spyridon Magkounis added free throws but Blums matched them with his third three-pointer. Vetoulas dropped a triple too, but Eurelijus Zukauskas and Slezas combined for 5 points to rebuild the lead to 41-25. Jomantas stole and penetrated for an easy bucket as both teams started to play faster and exchange baskets, though the margin didn't change. L. Rytas still led by 18 points, 47-29, as Rush dropped his third triple after a timeout. Jomantas made free throws as L. Rytas coasted into the break ahead by 52-31.

Nielsen opened the third quarter with 4 consecutive points before Jomantas converted his third steal to boost the lead to 58-33. Vetoulas stepped up for AEK with a triple but Nielsen almost broke the rim with a massive dunk on another attack. L. Rytas worked hard on the defensive end and didn't allow easy shots for AEK. The offense benefitted as Batista converted a three-point play and an easy layup to make it 65-38 after 25 minutes. Tapoutos responded with 4 points and Vetoulas added a triple but Petravicius hit consecutive jumpers and Rush landed his fourth strike from downtown. Tapoutos and Constantinos Maglos kept scoring to reduce the difference to 76-55 after three quarters. Blums dished his 10th assist to Nielsen for a bucket that opened the final quarter. The pair repeated the combination after a minute or so, but this time with a foul, which Nielsen converted for an 81-56 score. AEK didn't give up. Instead, Kommatos scored from downtown, Nikolaidis added free throws and Tapoutos hit a triple in a stunning 0-13 run that cut the margin rather suddenly to 81-69 with 5 minutes left. Tomas Delininkaitis ended 5 scoreless minutes for L. Rytas with a fastbreak layup but Kommatos answered with free throws and back-to-back triples that kept AEK surging at 83-77. The hosts looked confused but escaped as Rush hit an important free throw and added a decisive layup for an 86-77 lead with 42 seconds left, enough for L. Rytas to claim first place in Group A and preserve its unbeaten record at home.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Gintaras Radauskas, Vilnius
No results found.
Attendance: 11000
By Quarter1234
Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius26262410
AEK Athens15162425
End of Quarter1234
Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius26527686
AEK Athens15315580
Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 RUSH, KAREEM LAMAR 16:30 17 2/3 4/5 1/2   1 1 1     1   1 1 17
5 SLEZAS, ANDRIUS 20:15 9 3/3 1/4     3 3 2   1     4 2 8
6 PAKAMANIS, DARIUS 0:45                              
8 LUKAUSKIS, MINDAUGAS 18:30 4 1/3 0/2 2/2 1 1 2 1   3     3 1 -2
9 DELININKAITIS, TOMAS 20:15 2 1/4 0/2     2 2 3 1       3 1 1
11 ZUKAUSKAS, EURELIJUS 5:15 4 2/2   0/1   1 1       1     1 6
13 BATISTA, J.P. 17:30 8 3/7   2/3 1 4 5   1   1   4 3 9
15 PETRAVICIUS, MARIUS 13:00 6 3/4       3 3 1         2   7
21 JOMANTAS, ARTURAS 24:45 10 3/5   4/4 3 3 6 3 3 1     2 5 22
31 GECEVICIUS, MARTYNAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
44 NIELSEN, MATT 24:00 17 7/7   3/3   2 2   2 1   1 3 3 19
45 BLUMS, JANIS 39:15 9   3/8     3 3 11   4     2 3 15
Team             3 3   3           6
Totals 200:00 86 25/38 8/21 12/15 5 26 31 22 10 10 3 1 24 20 108
        65.8% 38.1% 80%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
AEK Athens
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 GKAGKALOUDIS, IOANNIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6 NIKOLAIDIS, PRODROMOS 33:00 15 2/3 2/5 5/5 2 3 5 1 1 1   1 4 4 16
7 TAPOUTOS, CHRISTOS 34:00 20 5/9 2/4 4/6 2 6 8 2 1 1 1   2 4 25
8 MAGLOS, CONSTANTINOS 11:00 2 0/1   2/2   2 2     2     3 2  
9 MAGKOUNIS, SPYRIDON 14:45 3 0/1   3/4 1   1 2         2 2 4
10 KOMMATOS, NESTORAS 31:45 19 2/2 4/9 3/4 2 3 5 1   1   1 4 4 17
11 VETOULAS, NIKOLAOS 37:00 18 2/4 4/9 2/3   5 5 5 2 2     3 3 20
12 PAPANIKOLAU, NIKOLAOS 6:00 3 1/1 0/1 1/2                   1 2
14 PERKOVIC, JASMIN 32:00   0/3 0/4   3 4 7 2   3   1 2 4  
17 MICHALOGLOU, ANTONIOS 0:30                              
Team           1   1   6           7
Totals 200:00 80 12/24 12/32 20/26 11 23 34 13 10 10 1 3 20 24 91
        50% 37.5% 76.9%
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Head Coaches

Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius
"Without a doubt, we were a better team tonight and that's why we won. We played almost as perfectly as one could in the first half, but we became really lousy after the break. We were preparing for this game really hard so we concentrated, played really tough defense and made 70 percent of our three-pointers in the first half. During the halftime break I told my players to try to see zeros on the scoreboard but, still, they saw it differently. We lost concentration and made only 1 of 11 triples during the last two quarters. However, it is hard not to relax when one's lead reaches 25 points after 20 minutes. I'm not a fan of these kind of margins. Of course, AEK played really great at the end of the game. They hit some amazing shots. All in all, I think we did our job and I hope we will bring our group phase's success to the playoffs. I don't really care which team we'll have to play, I just want to get as much information about our future opponent as I can."
AEK Athens
"This was a very interesting game. We came to play against one of the best teams in the ULEB cup without some of our main guys. The final result was actually not so important for us. We played more simply for the quality of our game. I let our younger and inexperienced guys play in the first half, the better ones played during the last two quarters. Lietuvos rytas shot really well from downtown and I think that's why they ran so far in the first half. We didn't expect such shooting fiesta. Overall, I'm satisfied with how we finished the game. Best wishes to Lietuvos rytas in ULEB cup playoffs. They have excellent players, experienced coaches and a fantastic crowd. They are capable of winning the cup."


Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius
"The ending wasn't very good. We relaxed too much. Of course, AEK has really great three-point shooters. We let them shoot easily, besides, they intensified their defense. It is a disappointment, really, because apart form that we played really well. Unfortunately, we finished the game feeling not so good. Of course, it's OK but we have to learn a lesson that games have to be played until the last seconds. Consistency is what matters. We can't get too much excited about this win and keep working. We still have to fix some things. Obviously, we believe we can win the cup but it is too early. We must think about the upcoming round first."
Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius
"I think we started the game well. The crowd was here, it really turned us on. We had a good chance to put it away right up on at halftime but I think we came back a little overconfident. The main thing is to win, however. We were able to maintain our lead. It was a good game because now we're first in our group and playoffs are waiting. I think I played OK. There were stretches in recent past when I didn't play well at all but coach put me in the starting five and that gave me confidence. Of course, I wish I could have played better but we got the win and I think I helped out."
AEK Athens
"It was a difficult game for us, especially in the beginning. Lietuvos rytas is a great team but we came here to play. So we focused more on defense after the halftime break, made some important shots and came back. Lietuvos rytas is a really excellent team, I think they have a balanced roster with almost no flaws. If they continue to play like this, they are going to win the cup."
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