VEF Riga hit three-pointers on four consecutive possessions in the final four minutes of the game as it rallied from a 17-point deficit to shock CEZ Basketball Nymburk 80-85 on Wednesday night. Riga improved to 2-1 in Group J, while Nymburk dropped to 1-2. The hosts were in control for 35 minutes after leading 53-36 lead in the third quarter and 72-62 midway through the fourth. However Donatas Zavackas, Dairis Bertans and Kristaps Janicenoks combined to nail 4 triples, and Zavackas made a basket-plus-foul to cap a 3-17 run that swung the game Riga’s way. Janicenoks finished with 16 points, Antanas Kavaliauskas scored 15 while shooting 7 for 7 on two-pointers. Kaspars Berzins had 14 points plus 6 rebounds, and Zavackas scored 11 of his 13 points in the decisive fourth quarter. Rado Rancik led Nymburk with 18 points, Vojtech Hruban scored 14, Tomas Pomikalek 11 and Jiri Welsch added 10 plus 6 rebounds in defeat.
Pomikalek and Rancik hit back-to-back three-pointers in the opening minute of the contest to provide Nymburk with a fast start. Berzins opened Riga's account with a dunk, and after Petr Benda made a layup and a jump shot for the hosts, Berzins answered with a jumper and a triple to get the visitors within a point. A dunk by Will Daniels gave Riga its first lead, 10-11. The visitors went up in front again, 16-17, after more inside basket from Daniels and Berzins, but Hruban and Rancik finished the first quarter each hitting from downtown to make it 25-19. Hruban and Daniels traded jumpers to start the second quarter, before Drew Naymick extended Nymburk's lead to 31-21. An 8-1 run with Hruban and Pomikalek scoring all the points for the hosts made it 39-24 before Gatis Jahovics hit a three-pointer to start Riga's run. With two more baskets from Jahovics and a triple from Rowland, the visitors cut it to 40-32, before Pomikalek and Jahovics traded baskets in the final 13 seconds making it 42-34 at the break.
Nymburk scored on its first three possessions of the third quarter, jumpers from Hruban and Benda followed by a triple from Welsch extended the lead back to 15 points. Janicenkos made a jump shot to get Riga going, but Ranick’s layup capped an 11-2 run that made it 53-36. Kavaliauskas answered, stringing together 9 unanswered points, and a jumper from Janicenoks closed the gap to 53-47. Nymburk kept the margin safe with back-to-back-to-back jump shots from Miljan Pavkovic, Rancik and Hruban, but 4 free throws from Berzins made it 59-54 after three quarters. Pavkovic opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer before Kavaliauskas made a dunk and Rowland sank one from behind the arc for 62-59. However, Naymick answered with a dunk, added a jump shot to hosts’ tally, and after a three from Dairis Bertans, Pavkovic and Rancik extended the lead to 10 points, 72-62, and it looked as Nymburk was going to wrap up the game. Janicenoks and Zavackas had other ideas as they hit back-to-back triples. Then Bertans hit one of his own, and Zavackas hit another one, giving VEF Riga 73-76 advantage. After Zavackas added a layup as well as a basket-plus-foul with 32 seconds remaining for 75-79, a three-pointer by Welsch gave hope to Nymburk. But Zavackas, Janicenoks and Rowland made all 6 free throws in the final seconds to seal the victory.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013