Lietuvos Rytas takes battle of past champs over Hapoel in Jerusalem
In a clash of two former Eurocup champions, Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius topped Hapoel Jerusalem on the road 70-81. Rytas improved to 4-1 in a share of the first place of Group E, while Jerusalem dropped to 1-4. The visitors took control in the first quarter, taking the lead for good with a 4-15 spurt that bridged the first and seconds quarter and gave them 14-24 lead. Rytas sank 13 three-pointers during the first 35 minutes, keeping the advantage in the double digits. The margin reached 19 points in the fourth quarter before Jerusalem, which shot 0 of 6 from downtown for the game, used a late rally to and close the gap. Gediminas Orelik netted 16 points, Adas Juskevicius and Antanas Kavaliauskas scored 13 apiece, and Billy Baron scored 12 on 4-for-5 three-point shooting in victory. Donta Smith had 23 points and 6 assists for the hosts, Joseph Jones amassed 16 points plus 10 rebounds, and Derwin Kitchen had 12 points and 7 rebounds in defeat.
Jerusalem and Rytas went basket-for-basket early on, with both teams getting contribution from all five players in the starting lineup. Yotam Halperin and Kitchen each dished a pair of assists, and Jones scored couple of baskets, while Orelik nailed a three-pointer, and Travis Leslie had a basket-plus-foul for 12-12 tie. However, a fastbreak dunks from Mindaugas Lukauskis and Leslie sparked a 0-7 run, capped by a three-pointer from Martynas Gecevicius, helping Rytas to 14-21 lead after 10 minutes. Lukauskis started the second period with a pair of three-pointers to extend the lead to 16-27. Bar Timor tried to get the hosts going with a steal and a jumper, Jones had a put-back and Lior Eliyahu also scored a basket, but Adas Juskevicius hit couple triples, and Baron added first one of his from long range for 26-36. Kitchen had a put-back to cut the deficit to 6 points, but Baron netted another three-pointer and Kavaliauskas had couple of baskets for Rytas to make it 30-43 at halftime.
As Smith was stringing together 10 points for Jerusalem in the early going of the third quarter, Kavaliauskas scored first 5 points for Rytas, before back-to-back three-pointers from Orelik and Baron extended it to 39-54. In the final 4 minutes of the quarter the only field goal for Jerusalem was a layup from Kitchen, while Juskevicius hit another three-pointer and Orelik and Arturas Valeika made 4 of 5 free throws to make it 44-61 after three quarters. Smith, Halperin and Jones tried to spark some hope for the hosts with buckets at the start of the fourth, but Leslie and Kavaliauskas kept the margin safe, and Baron knocked down a three-pointer for 50-69. Jones, Smith and Kitchen fueled a 13-2 run that cut the margin to 63-72, and Kitchen scored on a fast break to bring Jerusalem within 68-74 with under 2 minutes to go. But Orelik’s basket sealed the deal as teams entered the final minute.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014