2008-09QuarterfinalsGame 1
April 02, 2009 CET: 21:00
Local time: 21:00 PALASPORT OLIMPICO
Chuck Eidson - Lietuvos Rytas - Final Eight Turin 2009 - EC08

Lietuvos Rytas outlasted Benetton Basket 79-85

Lietuvos Rytas outlasted Benetton Basket 79-85 in the second Eurocup quarterfinal on Thursday night in Turin, Italy, and is only one win away from making it to a third Eurocup final in the last five seasons. Chuck Eidson paced L. Rytas with 23 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals including a crucial three-pointer that gave L. Rytas a 5-point lead with one-and-a-half minutes to go. Donatas Zavackas notched 16 points, Milka Bjelica and Marijonas Petravicius contributed with 12 points each and Mindaugas Lukauskis and Arturas Jomantas added 11 points apiece. For Benetton, Gary Neal scored 15 points in the first half, but cooled down after the break to finish with 18 points, C.J. Wallace netted 16 points and Massimo Bulleri had 12. Sandro Nicevic added 11 points to go with 5 steals and Radoslav Rancik matched him in scoring with 11 points for the Italian club, which was outrebounded 28-38. L. Rytas will clash with Hemofarm Stada in the first Eurocup semifinals on Saturday.

Zavackas opened the scoring with a triple from the top of the key, but Nicevic matched it with a three-point play on the next possession. Neal showed his smooth touch with a three-pointer from the left wing, before Jomantas came through with a layup in transition and then made a perfect cut and finished strong to help L. Rytas overtake the lead at 7-6. Bulleri made his trademark off-the-dribble jump shot, but soon committed his second foul and had to take a seat on the bench. Neal used the glass on a tough jumper close to the basket. Bjelica came off the bench and didn't need long time to score a layup, while Jomantas continued to penetrate with success. Neal hit another shot to make it 12-11 and then Nicevic split free throws and added a turnaround jumper from the left baseline. Domen Lorbek capped an 8-0 run with a three-pointer, forcing L. Rytas head coach Rimas Kurtinaitis to take a timeout. Wallace got Benetton more points with a layup, before Eidson finally stopped the bleeding with a triple that made it 20-14. Dashaun Wood beat the L. Rytas defense for a layup, and Nicevic matched Eidson’s shooting with a basket of his own. After Neal drilled a three-pointer for his 10th point of the period, Zavackas made a put-back to cut it to 27-18 after the 10 minutes.

Zavackas earned a trip to the line and hit both shots at the start of the second quarter, Eidson nailed a triple and Petravicius was wide open inside for his first basket of the game. All of a sudden it was 27-25 and now it was Benetton head coach Oktay Mahmuti's turn to ask for a timeout. Eidson converted a steal into a fastbreak slam and Mindaugas Lukaiskis connected from downtown to give L. Rytas its first lead since the middle of the first quarter,27-30. Rancik stepped up with a tough three-point play. Zavackas attacked the basket, but Neal was ready with a baseline jumper at the other end. Eidson drew a foul while shooting a three-pointer and made 2 of 3 for a 32-34 L. Rytas lead. Lukauskis hit an unbelievable three-pointer with a Benetton defender all over him and split free throws on L. Rytas’s next possession. Jomantas muscled his way through for a three-point play, widening the advantage to 32-41. Wallace answered with a pair of free throws, but Jomantas pulled down an offensive rebound and fed Petravicius for a hook. Bulleri made a free throw as Benetton tried to stop L. Rytas by switching to zone defense. Wallace was in position for a put-back, and after Eidson hit a perfectly timed jumper, Neal drove through the lane and used his impressive hang time to score despite being fouled, and made the free throw too. Zavackas scored 4 free throws with a Bulleri three-pointer in between them, and it was 43-49 at halftime.

Wallace showed his range with a three-pointer at the start of the third quarter, but Petravicius matched it with a three point-play and then drew Nicevic's third foul. The defenses were stronger than the offenses for the next couple of minutes, until Bulleri found space for a left-handed layup that made it 48-52. Petravicius scored inside, and though Wallace made a jumper at the other end, Bjelica rebounded his own miss to layin another basket for L. Rytas. Rancik made a spectacular block that led to a shot by Bulleri. Eidson attacked the basket, and Jomantas dished to an open Bjelica, who made it 52-60 and then came through with a power move to make it a 10-point game. After Wallace drilled his second triple, Petravicius and Rancik exchanged baskets, and L. Rytas was still in front at 57-64. Lukaiskis split free throws, but Neal connected on a triple. Lorbek flew in for a beautiful lay-in, and it was 62-65 and anybody's game with 10 minutes to go.

It was very loud and tense in the beginning of the fourth quarter, as no one could hit until Bjelica made 2 free throws and Nicevic split his at the other end. Lorbek scored on an acrobatic layup to cut it to 65-67. Neal attacked the basket to draw a foul, but got hurt and had to go out. Matteo Soragna came in to shoot the free throws instead of Neal and had the nerves to make both, tying the score at 67-67. Eidson put L. Rytas back in front with a pair of free throws and a fast break dunk. Rancik hit a triple and it was 70-71 with only four minutes left on the clock. Bulleri drew a foul to give Benetton its first lead since the beginning of the second quarter, but Eidson fed Bjelica inside. Then Rancik brought the crowd up to its feet with a powerful dunk. Lukauskis did the same with a three-pointer, putting L. Rytas up by 74-76. Eidson came up with another triple, and Benetton had only one-and-a-half minutes to erase a 5-point deficit. Rancik scored a free throw, but Jomantas ran away on a fast break. Nicevic scored from the free-throw line, but neither Nicevic nor Neal, who returned to the court, could get it to fall. Wallace dunked with 6 second left to cut it to 79-83, but that didn’t stop the celebration from the loud Lithuanian fans who made it all the way down to Italy.

Massimo Bulleri - Benetton Basket - Final Eight Turin 2009 - EC08
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Andrei Kazankov, Turin
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Attendance: 4170
By Quarter1234
Benetton Basket27161917
Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius18311620
End of Quarter1234
Benetton Basket27436279
Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius18496585
Benetton Basket
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 WOOD, DASHAUN 24:48 2 1/4       1 1 1 1 2     3 1 -2
7 SORAGNA, MATTEO 19:23 2 0/2 0/1 2/2       1 1 3     1 3  
8 LORBEK, DOMEN 21:00 7 2/2 1/3     2 2 1         1   7
9 BULLERI, MASSIMO 22:56 12 3/5 1/5 3/4   2 2 3   5     5 2 2
10 NICEVIC, SANDRO 23:07 11 3/7   5/7 1 4 5 2 5   1   4 6 20
11 RULLO, ROBERTO DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
13 RANCIK, RADOSLAV 24:45 11 3/5 1/2 2/7 2 2 4     2 1   5 5 6
14 NEAL, GARY 31:53 18 4/10 3/9 1/1 1   1 1 2 2     1 3 10
15 WOJCIECHOWSKI, JAKUB DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
16 CAZZOLATO, NICOLO DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
18 WALLACE, C.J. 29:58 16 4/5 2/3 2/2 1 6 7 1 2 2     3 6 25
19 RENZI, ANDREA 2:10         1   1               1
Team           3 2 5               5
Totals 200:00 79 20/40 8/23 15/23 9 19 28 10 11 16 2 0 23 26 74
        50% 34.8% 65.2%
Head coach: MAHMUTI, OKTAY
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 BABRAUSKAS, STEPONAS 14:39     0/1   2   2   1 1     5   -4
8 LUKAUSKIS, MINDAUGAS 27:45 11 0/1 3/8 2/4 1 4 5 2 1 1     4 2 8
11 BJELICA, MILKO 18:19 12 5/7 0/1 2/2 1   1 1   2     3 1 7
12 ANISIMOV, MICHAILIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
13 EIDSON, CHUCK 38:00 23 5/7 3/7 4/7 1 7 8 1 3 3   1 2 6 26
14 ZAVACKAS, DONATAS 23:57 16 2/4 1/7 9/10 1 5 6   1 2     4 4 12
15 PETRAVICIUS, MARIUS 35:25 12 5/9   2/3 1 6 7 2 2 4   1 4 3 12
21 JOMANTAS, ARTURAS 29:32 11 5/5   1/1 2 4 6 3 1 6     2 4 17
22 SINICA, JUSTAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
31 GECEVICIUS, MARTYNAS 7:16     0/1                   1   -2
41 BRAZDAUSKIS, LUKAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
55 DAINYS, EVALDAS 5:07               1         1    
Team           2 1 3               3
Totals 200:00 85 22/33 7/25 20/27 11 27 38 10 9 19 0 2 26 20 79
        66.7% 28% 74.1%

Head Coaches

Benetton Basket
"First of all, congratulations to Rytas for the victory. About the game, I think that first games are the most difficult in this kind of tournament. In the end, if I have to analyze, I would say we were too nervous maybe for one game like this. We missed a lot of free throws, a lot of easy layups, we made some very easy or, let's say, naïve mistakes on defense. And at the end, of course, when all of those things happen, you lose. It happens like it has happened. The idea at the start was to trap Eidson on the pick-and-roll, not let him penetrate and pass to others. In the second half, we tried to push him in the right side. What's important is that all of their scorers scored in double figures. Eidson played a good game not only for himself, but for other players. In the crucial moments, we made some naïve mistakes. It happens in basketball."
Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius
"I'm happy we did a big job tonight. Our guys are young, but strong enough to play well. It was not the best game we can play, but it was good enough to win tonight. So I congratulate my team. I think we were in a little bit better physical condition, because at five minutes to the end, we could still run and Benetton, they just stopped. Maybe it was easier for us because we were leading all the time. It's difficult to be behind. Anyway, I think we were better. And before this Final Eight, we had more time to prepare our team, especially for this game. Last week, we did a big job in practice and put that tonight on the court. Our team can play better. We had too many turnovers, 19. We weren't so good in three-point shots, either. We can play a little bit better."


Benetton Basket
"We are disappointed. They outrebounded us, we missed some open shots, we got involved with the refs, and that's always a problem. Three technicals are always tough to deal with - that's 6 points. We played hard, but they made some big plays and took control of the game with a big three-pointer. Fighting from behind the whole time is always tough. I guess we got tired late, and they did a good job. It's a big fault of mine that they outrebounded us, I didn't box out well enough and will take blame for that. It's very disappointing that we've let our fans and ourselves down. Usually, when you have a home game, things go your way, but tonight it just seemed that things weren't going our way, so maybe there's no truth to that after all."
Benetton Basket
"They are a great team, both sides played hard and it all came down to the end. We took the lead, but it was just too late. It was a hard time to come back, and though we took the lead, they regained it and that was it. As a team we lost our head a little bit. We got a couple of technical fouls, made a couple stupid plays and that hurt us in the end. Instead of playing good, smart basketball, we made some hard mistakes. It's very disappointing. We had the game in our hands, we were up by 1 point with two minutes to go, and that's the position you want to be in in this tournament. But Lukauskis hit a three and put them back up by 2 points and we couldn't catch up."
Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius
"Benetton is a good team and of course, Gary Neal is a great player, a good, quick shooter. Our goal was not only to stop him, but some other guys. We already faced some tough games this season. We have been through pretty tough battles already. This win keeps us going in the competition and all we want right now is to win a couple of more games. The game against Hemofarm is going to be a good one. They are a young team with a good coach that run-and-gun a little bit. We have to come out the way we played for 30 minutes tonight. Now we have to try to play 40 good minutes and make it to the final."
Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius
"Our defense was the key to beating Benetton tonight, and of course, rebounding. I had many injuries in the beginning of the season, so it is great to be here able to help my team. It is great to come to this Final Four. It was a tough season for me, as I underwent surgery, but came back and I hope to stay injury-free in the future. Benetton is a good team, but we managed to overcome their good start and stay here in Turin. This is a team you just cannot beat by 20-30 points, but we did what we needed to win the game. It was a hard game for us. I didn't expect Hemofarm to make it to the semifinals. I thought Dynamo would make it, but this is basketball."
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