VEF Riga won its opening game at the Siauliai Nike International Junior Tournament on Thursday morning againt Lietuvos Rytas by 80-91. A great second period allowed the Latvian team to build a solid lead, but Rytas came back in the third to make it a one-point game, 61-62. However in the last quarter, VEF pulled away again, this time for good, to claim the final win. The victory puts VEF Riga atop Group A with a 0-1, while Lietuvos Rytas will have to make up for the starting 0-1 in the next two games. Ervins Meznieks led the winners with 20 points, Kristaps Plavnieks added 18, Anzejs Pasecniks 15 and Davis Geks 10. For Lietuvos Rytas, Edvinas Seskus and Rytis Pipiras had 17 plus 7 apiece, Gediminas Zalalis aded 12 points and Norbertas Giga and Regimantas Miniotas contributed 10 each.
The first quarter was as tight as they come and it was only in the second period when VEF Riga managed to build a solid lead. Kristaps Plavnieks hit a three to make it 29-38, but the game reached the halftime break with a 32-38 VEF Riga edge. In the third period, Lietuvos Rytas regrouped as Rytis Pipiras was leading the way in offense to trim the deficit down to only 61-62 after 30 minutes. Despite winning the rebounds battle clearly however, Rytas was still trailing as during the last period, a 7-17 run for VEF made it 68-79 with less than six minutes to go. In the last part of the game, VEF Riga managed the lead despite Rytas' efforts from the arc that were not very successful. When Ervins Meznieks landed a three for VEF for 72-85 with less than three minutes to go, it was clear that the Latvian team would take the first win.
Thursday, January 24, 2013