BC Triumph Lyubertsy became the first Last 16 team on Wednesday night by defaeting VEF Riga at home, 82-77. The win allows Triumph to improve to a 4-0 record to stay perfect in Group C, while VEF dropped to 1-3 but still has options to advance. Triumph dominated most of the game and was ahead on the scoreboard, but VEF Riga pushed hard and even managed to jump ahead in the last quarter, but Tasamin Mitchell put the win on ice for the hosts and a ticket for the next round with 11 points in the last period. Mitchell led the winners with his 21 points and 7 boards, Kyle Landry and Tywain McKee added 15 each and Sergey Karasev contributed 11. For VEF Riga, Earl Rowland had 17 points, Kristaps Janicenoks added 13, Dairis Bertans 12 and Will Daniels and Donatas Zavackas posted 10 apiece.
BC Triumph started on a roll with a 6-0 initial burst thanks to points by McKee and Karasev. However, VEF Riga reacted fast
thanks to a three by Kristaps Janicenoks and soon was close to 6-5. Both teams exchanged a few baskets but Riga was always
behind until Earl Rowland blasted a three that tied teh game at 14-14 and then Gatis ahovics joined him to finally put teh
guests ahead for the first time, 16-17. Triumph was missing all its attempts from the arc so far, 0 of 5, but a 7 of 7 from
2-point range helped them stay in the game. Five straight points by Dairis Bertans, including a three, earned the guests a
18-22 that forced Triumph's timeout. However, there was no time for anything else as the score didn't move for the rest of
the quarter. Devin Searcy tried to keep Triumph in the loop during the first minutes of the second quarter, but the guests
maintained the 4-point lead. Siim-Sander Vene was leading the Latvian squad in scoring and the team resisted despite Triumph
having the upper hand in the rebounds battle. Points by Tasamin Mitchell and Yuval Naimy finally allowed the hosts to jump
ahead, 33-31. Triumph continued the good streak and built it up to a 12-1 run after Evgeny Valiev's three-point play, 38-31.
The game reached the halftime break with the same difference, 41-34, for the hosts.
Defenses stepped up in the first steps of the second half of the game. After three minutes into the third quarter, the score
was still 47-35, but Triumph was starting to increase the gap again. Mitchell had two straight buckets for the hosts, 51-40,
and then McKee took over. Kaspars Berzins tried to spur his teammates to stay in the game, and Antanas Kavaliauskas and
Bertans soon joined him for points that made it 56-52. Karasev hit it from downtown to give Triumph some air, but Kristaps
Janicenoks exploded in the last minute of the quarter for six straight points - including a three and the basket-plus-foul
situation - that made it a one-point game entering the decisive period, 59-58. VEF Riga even managed to jump ahead a couple of time during the first minute of the last period, but McKee and Mitchell teamed up for a small Triumph margin, 70-65, with six minutes to go. Mitchell kept pushing for a 74-68 and time was running out for VEF Riga. Rowland and Bertans appeared again for four points to make it 76-72, but entering the last minute, Mitchell scored again with his 18th point to send Triumph to the Last 16.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012