Rytas rolls to victory in Bilbao
Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius avenged its opening night loss with an important win on Wednesday at RETAbet Bilbao Basket, 79-96, in Group C. With the result, Rytas would win all possible ties against the Spanish team, since it lost in Round 1 by 10 points. The win lifted Rytas to an even 3-3, while RETAbet saw its losing streak grow to five games with a 1-5 record after winning the opener over Rytas. RETAbet started the game well and dominated the first quarter, but starting in the second, the visitors regrouped and took absolute control of the game until the end. Chris Kramer led the winners with a career-high 27 points, Rokas Giedraitis added 14 and Loukas Mavrokefalidis had 13 and 7 rebounds. For RETAbet, Mickell Gladness had 15 points and 7 boards and Dejan Todorovic added 14 points.
Both teams stayed close to each other in the first minutes. Gladness scored for the hosts inside, while Mavrokefalidis did it form everywhere for the guests to keep it tight. When Todorovic woke up with 5 straight points it looked like RETAbet was starting to be in control, 15-9. However, Rytas never gave up despite having RETAbet always in the lead, and Giedraitis pulled up for a three to make it 22-16. The hosts were having problems with the turnovers, but high shooting percentages kept them in the lead. Kramer and Mavrokefalidis made it a one-point game again, 24-23, and Jonathan Tabu stopped the bleeding from the arc. A few mistakes by Ricardo Fischer allowed the visitors to finally jump ahead, 32-34, on Robert Carter's basket. The Rytas run escalated to 0-12 forcing a RETAbet timeout. A couple of slams by Gladness allowed the hosts to pull within 39-42 at the break.
Tabu, Mumbru and Kramer dominated the offensive end for their respective teams starting the second half, and Travis Peterson joined the party with two straight slams to make it 51-50. Threes by Giedraitis and Kramer, the latter with foul included, made it 61-67. RETAbet seemed to be out of focus for a moment and Rytas stepped hard on the gas to build a 10-point lead, 61-71, through Martynas Echodas. The visitors, almost unnoticeably, started stretching the lead as Gladness kept fighting in the paint for RETAbet, but Mavrokefalidis and Peterson launched Rytas to 73-89 with three minutes to go to seal the final outcome.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017