Lietkabelis uses three-point attack to beat Metropolitans
Lietkabelis Panevezys made a club record 19 three-pointers and managed to hold on for a 96-89 victory over Boulogne Metropolitans 92 in Group A. Lietkabelis opened a 10-point lead in the first quarter but lost the advantage immediately thereafter. Metropolitans built a 9-point cushion in the third quarter but the game was even after 30 minutes. Lietkabelis used the long ball to build an 8-point gap down the stretch and prevailed to improve to 4-5. Dovydas Giedraitis drained 5 three-pointers in scoring 25 points while Kaspars Berzins had 5 triples and 19 points, Kristupas Zemaitis scored 18 points and Panagiotis Kalaitzakis added 12 points. Lietkabelis, which was missing leaders Djordje Gagic and Gediminas Orelik, had lost its last two games and four of the last five. Metropolitans fell to 4-6, including a 1-5 mark away from home. Miralem Halilovic paced the French club with 19 points and 11 rebounds while Will Cummings had 16 points and 5 assists, Tomer Ginat scored 12, Tony Crocker 11 and Vince Hunter chipped in 10 points in the loss.
Berzins opened the scoring for the hosts and Ginat had two scores at the other end to keep Metropolitans close at 6-4. Berzins and Giedraitis both hit three-pointers in a 12-4 spurt as Lietkabelis opened a double-digit lead, 18-8. Crocker answered from deep and Cummings had 4 points in a 0-11 run over nearly 4 minutes to pull ahead 18-19. Nikola Radicevic beat the quarter buzzer with a triple and the hosts led 23-21 after 10 minutes.
Halilovic scored the first two baskets of the second quarter to put Metropolitans back ahead. Kalaitzakis and Steeve Ho-You-Fat swapped triples and Crocker made it 26-30. Four David Michineau points extended the gap to 29-34. Giedraits and Zemaitis drained back-to-back three-pointers as Lietkabelis nosed back ahead and Zemaitis hit another triple for a 42-40 lead. And Vytenis Lipkevicius beat the halftime buzzer with a halfcourt heave and the hosts led 47-44 at the break.
Metropolitans had the better start to the second half with the first 9 points - including 5 points from Halilovic. Lietkabelis needed nearly 4 minutes to finally score and a Michineau three-point play had the visitors up 49-58. Berzins and Giedraits punched back with back-to-back three-pointers and Lietkabelis came within 55-58. The hosts once again saw got triples with Berzins and Lipkevicius hitting from deep and the game was knotted 64-64 after 30 minutes.
Berzins drained back-to-back triples to start the final stanza and Zemaitis and Giedraitis hit three-pointers on consecutive possessions as the lead grew to 79-72, prompting a Metropolitan timeout. Giedraitis added another triple after the break and Lietkabelis led 82-74. Halilovic powered Metropolitans to within 86-82. Zemaitis punched back with a triple, but Bandja Sy hit a three-pointer and the guests came within 89-87 with 78 seconds left. Kalaitzakis would not let Lietkabelis lose as he made a crucial three-pointer at the end of the shot clock with 46 seconds and Giedraitis locked up the win for good with 2 free throws with 5.3 seconds remaining.
Giedraitis makes up for missing leaders
Lietkabelis went into the game missing a lot of firepower with the absences of Gediminas Orelik and Djordje Gagic, who ranked first and third respectively in scoring for the team. In the first eight games the duo combined for 24.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 22.8 in performance index rating. They made up 31.1% of Lietkabelis’ scoring so far and 25.1% of rebounding. One of the main players to make up for that was Dovydas Giedraitis, who shined for the first time since making his season debut in Round 6. He had totaled 14 points with 2 three-pointers in his first three EuroCup games and then exploded for 25 points with 5 three-pointers against Metropolitans.
Career night for Halilovic
It was a career night for Metropolitans’ big man Miralem Halilovic, who poured in 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting to go with 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal for an index rating of 28. The 30-year-old big man set career bests in points, rebounds and PIR - all while playing just 21:42 minutes. The Bosnia and Herzegovina center has produced some good games this season, hitting in double figures three times previously and five games grabbing at least 6 rebounds in his second season in the EuroCup.
Three-pointers tell the story - at both ends
Three-pointers were clearly the story of the game - and actually at both ends. Lietkabelis drained a club record 19 three-pointers at 52.8% accuracy. The team attempted 36 shots from long range. Lietkabelis’s previous best was 14 triples against Partizan NIS Belgrade in Round 5 earlier this season. The shooting percentage was also a team best, up from 52.0% in a Top 16 game against ratiopharm Ulm in February 2017. Metropolitans made just 3 of 14 three-pointers, for a nightmarish 21.4%. The French team’s fewest three-pointers made was 2 in Round 7 this season against Joventut Badalona. Metropolitans’ shooting woes took away its biggest advantage in the game as the guests out-rebounded Lietkabelis 38-23, including 18 offensive rebounds. But the three-point shooting decided the game.
Wednesday, January 12, 2022