Group B leader Lietuvos Rytas registered its seventh consecutive victory by edging Armani Jeans 95-101 after overtime in Milano, Italy on Wednesday. L. Rytas improved to 7-2, will at least tie retain a tie for first place and has now beaten each Group B team during its streak. Meanwhile, Milano dropped to 2-7 and in danger of missing the Top 16. Fred House led the way for the winners with 23 points while making 5 of 8 on three-pointers. Matt Nielsen added 21 points, Simas Jasaitis 19, while Robertas Javtokas posted a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds. Tomas Delininkaitis chipped in 10 more points for L.Rytas. Dante Calabria of Montepaschi led all scorers with 26 points. Dusan Vukcevic scored 13 of his 15 in between the final quarter and the overtime for the hosts. Massimo Bulleri added 12, Diego Fajardo and Giacomo Galanda 11 apiece for Milano. L.Rytas led 59-76 with 7 minutes to go, but a red hot Vukcevic and free throws by Fajardo with 1.6 seconds to go took the game to overtime, 88-88. House, Javtokas and Nielsen shined in the extra period to give L.Rytas its fourth consecutive road win.
Javtokas netted 1 of 2 free throws to open the scoring and House fired in the first bomb of the night for a 0-4 L.Rytas lead. Galanda gave Milano its first lead, 5-4, with a three off a screen and even when Jasaitis answered from mid-range, Joseph Blair gave the hosts a 7-6 lead. Roberts Stelmahers fired in a big three for L-Rytas, but Bulleri slashed to the basket to tie it a 9-9 at midway through this quarter. Calabria and Haris Mujezinovic exchanged free throws while Javtokas nailed a jump hook. Defenses took over for 2 full minutes until Calabria and Preston Shumpert nailed back-to-back triples against the guests' 2-3 zone defense for a 17-13 Armani Jeans lead. Calabria had time for 2 more threes to give Milano a 23-16 margin, but a corner three by House fixed the score at 23-19 after 10 minutes.
A big dunk by Javtokas opened the second quarter, as the guests looked like different team now. House had 5 points in a 13-0 run which Nielsen capped to give L.Rytas a 23-32 lead after 13 minutes. Milano even missed from the free throw line, as L.Rytas kept rolling. Nielsen scored in the paint to make it a 12-point game, 23-35, as Bulleri broke 6 scoreless minutes for Milano with free throws. He fouled Nielsen while taking a three, while Mujezinovic capped a mamooth 2-23 run for a 25-39 L.Rytas margin. Galanda found an easy layup, but House nailed another bomb from downtown, hood for a 27-42 lead after 17 minutes. Sven Schultze woke up Milano with a big three but Mujezinovic scored from mid range to prevent the comeback at 33-46. Bulleri hit a jumper, but Nielsen banked in an off-balanced three to beat the shot clock, good for a 37-50 L.Rytas lead at halftime.
Jasaitis started the second half with another three and Stelmahers found an easy layup to extend the guests' margin to 37-55. Blair and Galanda scored four consecutive points for Milano, igniting a 2-10 run in which Calabria made a three and Claudio Coldebella scored off a steal to foce a L.Rytas timeout at 46-56. Jasaitis dunked it off a backdoor pass by Mujezinovic while Stelmahers made a layup for a 46-60 score, but Calabria and Coldebella combined for 5 quick points to make it a nine-point game, 51-60. Jasaitis and House kept the guests ahead, but Calabria fired in a three to keep Milano within 54-64. Once again Nielsen beat the shot clock with a three to raise L.Rytas' margin to 54-69 before Calabria made a free throw for a 55-69 Milano deficit after 30 minutes.
Tomas Delininkaitis and Galanda exchanged baskets for a 57-71 score, but once again Delininkaitis fired in a big three which seemed to seal the outcome, 59-76, with 7 minutes to go, as all fans who came from Vilnius has started to celebrate. Diego Fajardo converted a basket-plus-foul but Delininkaitis nailed an eight-meter triple to keep the guests in charge. Vukcevic came to the rescue with back-to-back threes, igniting a 11-0 run which Daniele Cavaliero capped to bring Milano within 75-81. Vukcevic made a three-point play while Bulleri pushed Milano within 82-83 with 2 minutes left in regulation. Javtokas made 1 of 2 free throws, but a big three by Schultze gave Milano a 85-84 edge with 35 second remaining. Stelmahers fired in a six-meter jumper while House added free throws for a 85-88 L.Rytas edge with 5.9 seconds to go. Bulleri drew a foul, missed his second shot on purpose, but Fajardo grabbed the offensive rebound and calmly made free throws to tie the game, 88-88. Stelmahers nailed an incredible three from midcourt, but it came after the buzzer and the game went to overtime.
Milano kept fouling Javtokas, who scored just 1 of 4 free throws for a 88-89 L.Rytas edge, but a red hot Vukcevic nailed another three for a 91-89 Milano lead. House bombed a big three to make L.Rytas regain the lead, 91-92, Nielsen missed a free throw and Fajardo dunked it for another tie, 93-93. House found an easy layup but Fajardo kept Milano alive at 95-95. Javtokas finally made 2 free throws, Vukcevic missed a three while Nielsen slashed for a layup which sealed the outcome at 95-99. Milano could not get an open shot in its final possession and Delininkaitis fixed the final score at 95-101.
Wednesday, January 4, 2006