Past champions Rytas Vilnius and visiting Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar tipped off the 2019-20 7DAYS EuroCup campaign with a thriller as the hosts prevailed 92-86 in the European season's very first game.
The Group B showdown had everything Rytas fans could hope for from the 2005 and 2009 champions. Best of all was their team's massive surge of 40 points in the second quarter, which turned a 10-point deficit into a 12-point halftime. Lokomotiv, a preseason favorite for the EuroCup title, never fully recovered.
Those 40 points amounted to the single best second-quarter scoring in EuroCup history and tied Rytas for third place in any EuroCup quarter. The all-time single-quarter record is 44 points, by Hapoel Jerusalem in 2009-10 against Galatasaray.
Rytas's main gunner was Eimantas Bendzius, whose career-high 27 points came with 6 three-pointers. Bendzius obviously likes opening games at Siemens Arena. In Round 1 last season, he scored a team-high 18 points as Rytas beat Unicaja Malaga in the latter's first EuroCup game since being champs in 2017.
Lokomotiv had a couple of great performances as well, with Johnny O'Bryant collecting 24 points and 10 rebounds and Alan Williams picking up 13 points and 10 rebounds. With great shooting early, Lokomotiv had actually gone ahead by 10 points early in the second quarter before Rytas's avalanche of points.
Lokomotiv will mark it down as a learning experience while Rytas can be happy about starting its season in style.