ALBA takes OT road win in Vilnius
ALBA Berlin took a huge step towards the quarterfinals with an 86-94 overtime win on the road at Rytas Vilnius. Niels Giffey forced overtime with a jumper just 3.6 seconds before the end of regulation before Stefan Peno and Rokas Giedraitis took over in the extra session to send ALBA to a victory that improved it to 2-1 in Group E while dropping Rytas to 1-2. Rokas Giedraitis finished as ALBA's top scorer with 23 points against his former team and Luke Sikma collected 19 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists in victory. Artsiom Parakhouski amassed 16 points and 10 rebounds for Rytas. D.J. Seeley also scored 16 points in defeat.
The teams traded leads at the start with Parakhouski stringing together 6 points for the hosts, but Martin Hermannsson drove for a layup and also hit a three-pointer for ALBA. A three-pointer from Eimantas Bendzius gave Rytas a 13-12 edge after just 5 minutes, but the offenses stalled, scoring just one field goal the rest of the quarter, a dunk by Niels Giffey, and the hosts held a 15-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. Martynas Echodas and Chris Kramer helped the hosts to a 21-15 cushion early in the second, but Hermannsson and Sikma combined to score 16 points, including a pair of threes from Sikma that gave the visitors a 27-31 advantage. Rok Stipcevic answered from downtown for Rytas, which finished the half strong, and a put-back from Echodas made it 36-33 at halftime. The offenses found their rhythm in the third and started trading buckets. Sikma's jumper put the visitors back in front, 40-41. Deividas Sirvydis hit a corner three for the hosts, but ALBA regained a slim lead that Sikma, Landry Nnoko and Giedraitis helped it keep. Seeley scored 6 points to put Rytas in front again, and help it take a 57-55 lead after three quarters. ALBA opened the fourth quarter with triples from Giffey and Giedraitis, but Mindaugas Girdziunas and Bendzius answered with back-to-back threes for the hosts, before Arnas Butkevicius scored twice and Bendzius capped a 13-2 run with a fastbreak dunk-plus-foul that made it 70-63. However, Giedraitis and Sikma hit from long range and Stefan Peno and Joshiko Saibou from close range to get the visitors within 74-73. Seeley hit a triple, but Giedraitis had a key put-back, and Giffey hit a short corner jumper over Bendzius with 3.6 seconds left in the fourth that sent the game into overtime tied 79-79. In the extra session, Peno's back-to-back buckets helped ALBA take an 81-87 lead. Girdziunas hit a triple for the hosts, but Peno took it to the rim and Giedraitis scored the last 5 points of the game to secure the victory.
In regulation time, neither team had a lead bigger than 7 points, which Rytas held in the fourth quarter, 70-63. Rokas Giedratis made a last-second three-pointer at the end of overtime to make the final score, 86-94, the biggest margin of the entire game.
Rytas outrebounded ALBA 42-36 and had 16 offensive boards compared to ALBA's 12. However, the visitors secured 5 of their offensive boards in the final two minutes of regulation and overtime.
Playmakers step up
In a role of point guard, Martin Hermannsson came up big for ALBA, scoring 15 points and dishing 8 assists. The other ALBA point guard, Stefan Peno, came up huge off the bench, scoring 6 of his 10 points in overtime.
Stellar free throw shooting
ALBA did not shoot many free throws, just 10, but made all 10. This is the fourth time in ALBA's 162 games in the competition that it shot 100% from the foul line and the second time it happened against Rytas. In their clash in February 2012, ALBA was also perfect in 10 trips to the foul line.
Next Tuesday, ALBA and Rytas play a reverse fixture in Berlin in Round 4.
Wednesday, January 16, 2019