Zalgiris Kaunas pulled into third place at the end of the Group B regular season by downing Adecco Asvel 86-72 at home in Kaunas, Lithuania on Thursday. Zalgiris avenged an earlier loss and finished 8-6, behind only Maccabi and Winterthur in Group B. Another monster performance by Tanoka Beard, 28 points and 12 rebounds, led the winners, who dominated the boards by 41-28. Dainius Salenga added 16 points for Zalgiris, while Robert Pack put up 15 and Paulius Jankunas 10. For Asvel, who finished 2-12 in last place, Huseyin Besok had 20 points, Terrell Lyday 16 and newcomer Bernard King 10.
Paulius Jankunas made a layup to open the scoring for Zalgiris, but Asvel showed confidence as Makan Dioumassi landed a triple to which Besok added 2 baskets. Beard kept the hosts going, however, joining Jankunas in putting down 3 more shots that soon tied the score, 14-14. Lyday answered with his second triple from the arc, but Salenga penetrated for 2 points and Vidas Ginevicius got the same from the line as Zalgiris pressed ahead to lead 23-21 after 10 minutes.
Dioumassi tied for Asvel to start the second quarter, but Beard was just getting started. He put Zalgiris ahead first then drew a double-team that left Jankunas free for a two-hand slam. Martynas Andriuskevicius came on to anchor a Zalgiris zone defense, and Beard was soon up off the bench again to make a layup. Asvel's offense dried up as a fastbreak by Ginevicius extended the Zalgiris run. Beard added free throws to give him 17 points already, but Zalgiris was only ahead 36-34 after Harold Mrazek scored for Asvel. Andriuskevicius now fed Beard for a crowd-plesing slam, but again Asvel climed within 2 points as Tomislav Ruzic scored inside. Andriuskevicius got revenge with a dunk at the buzzer, however, leaving Zalgiris in charge, 43-38 at the break.
Salenga was hot after halftime, making the first 6 points for Zalgiris and boosting the lead to 49-40. Only Ruzic made a basket for Asvel during 4 minutes. Asvel needed points badly and finally found Besok, with a semihook, while newcomer Bernard King gave a little push for visitors with a triple. Salenga became headache for Asvel by drawing fouls and staying sharp at the free throw line. Lyday fired from the downtown, but Jankunas made a jumper and Saulius Serapinas drove for 2 points to give Zalgiris a 14-point lead. In the last couple minutes, however, Zalgiris lost control of the paint without Beard in the game and Besok converted a three-point play to cut the lead to 64-53 after 30 minutes.
Zalgiris start final period with 4-0 run, all by Pack, while Beard forced Ruzic into foul trouble and seconds later sank the first triple of the match for the hosts. Stephane Pelle penetrated for a dunk, and then Besok, King and Yohanne Sangare fired in a triple apiece to suddenly cut the margin to 11 points, 79-68. Against Beard, however, Asvel had only one weapon: fouls. Mrazek hit a jumper with 2 minutes to go but Pack gave no hope to the guests by hitting 2 from the line to make it 83-70. Zalgiris had its eighth victory to cap a stellar regular season.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Antanas Pakula, Kaunas