VEF Riga pulled away in the fourth quarter to down visiting MZT Skopje Aerodrom 80-71, opening its Group G campaign with a win on Tuesday. Tomas Delininkaitis and Arturs Berzins scored three-pointers in a 10-0 Riga run to start fourth quarter, and take the lead for good, before Dee Brown and Kenan Bajramovic and Dee Brown hit more triples to seal the deal. With this win, VEF Riga joins Banvit Bandirma on top of group standings. Bajramovic paced the winners with 22 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists, and Brown finished with 19 points on 4-for-6 three-point shooting. Arturs Berzins scored 13, and Antywane Robinson chipped in with 10 for Riga. In MZT Skopje’s Eurocup debut, Uros Lucic had 15 points, Gjorgji Cekovski and Alexandar Kostoski had 13 apiece, while Stefan Sinovec netted 11.
The hosts held 14-11 after first 10 minutes, before MZT used triples from Chekovski and Goran Markovski to start the second quarter on 0-7 run. Another shot from downtown, from Kostoski, made it 22-27, but Brown answered with a triple of his own, and finished the first half with a fastbreak layup, making it 33-33 at the break. See-saw battle continued in the third quarter, with triples from Sinovec and Lucic on one end, and Arturs Berzins for the hosts. Brown and Bajramovic combined to score 9 points in a 10-2 Riga spurt for 50-45, but Sinovec, Cekovski and Kostoski each nailed a three-pointer before quarter’s end, as teams went into the final 10 minutes tied at 56-56. But the hosts opened the fourth quarter with 10 unanswered points, as Delininkaitis hit one triple, and assisted Arturs Berzins for another and 66-56. The visitors were not going away, tough, as Justin Reynolds helped cut it to 66-62 midway through the quarter, but Bajramovic and Brown sunk back-to-back triples for 74-63 with less than 3 minutes remaining, sealing the deal.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013