Lietuvos Rytas stretched its Group B winning streak to five games when as it downed visiting Prokom Trefl Sopot by a clear 82-69 on Wednesday. The winners, who started the season with a 0-2, guaranteed themselves at least second place in the group with a 5-2 record halfway through the regular season. On the other hand, Prokom drops to 2-5 and must do better to repeat its Top 16 appearance of a year ago. L. Rytas forged early double-digit leads and guarded them comfortably all the way until the final buzzer. Roberts Stelmahers put on a great performance for the hosts with 17 points. Simas Jasaitis added 15, Fred House had 13 and Mindaugas Lukauskis finshed with 12. For Prokom, Goran Jagodnik led three players in double digits with 15 points plus 11 rebounds. Adam Wojcik contributed 14 points and Istvan Nemeth posted 12.
Stelmahers opened the first quarter with a layup that Robertas Javtokas followed with a two-handed dunk. Prokom answered with 3 quick points by Jagodnik and a jump hook by Michael Andersen, good for a 4-5 edge. The visitors' advantage didn't last long, however, as L. Rytas instantly improved its offense as Stelmahers made free throws and fed House for a layup in a 7-0 run that Javtokas capped with a free throws, forcing Prokom to call timeout at 11-5. It got worse for Prokom as House took over with consecutive three-pointers that came off back-to-back steals by Simas Jasaitis, giving the hosts a 13-0 run and a 17-5 margin. House stayed on fire with another layup while Stelmahers added a five-meter jumper before Adam Wojcik scored inside to bring Prokom within 22-11 after 10 minutes.
L.Rytas used its strong man-to-man defense early in the second quarter to hold Prokom scoreless for 2 minutes until Tomas Masiulis hit free throws. The teams exchanged turnovers until Haris Mujezinovic scored inside, but then Wojcik dunked to cut the difference to 24-15. Mindaugas Lukauskis tried to widen the gap again with a three-pointer, but Istvan Nemeth fed Masiulis for a fastbreak dunk to get Prokom within 7 points, 27-20. A put-back basket by Jagodnik forced L.Rytas coach Neven Spahija to bring defensive anchor Javtokas back on court. Stelmahers then followed free throws off a technical foul on Jeff Noordgard with a triple to boost the L.Rytas lead to 34-24. Free throws by Wojcik and Jagodnik got Prokom within 37-31, but Stelmahers made foul shots again while Lukauskis dunked to help restore a double-digit lead, 41-31, at the half.
The third quarter started with a three-point festival as House, Wojcik, Nemeth, Lukauskis and Stelmahers each scored from downtown to fix the score at 50-40. L.Rytas switched to zone defense and Prokom started to struggle on offense. When Jagodnik picked up his fourth foul, the guests were left without another weapon. L.Rytas found many open shots along the way, as Lukauskis and Jasaitis fired in jumpers. Jasaitis soon added a basket-plus-free throw to make it a 19-point game, 58-39. Prokom finally found the way to the basket once Ali Bouziane and Filip Dylewicz combined for all points in a 0-7 run, but Jasaitis and Mujezinovic nailed back-to-back triples to keep the hosts safely ahead, 67-48 after 30 minutes.
In the final quarter, L. Rytas kept on going as Jasaitis scored from inside and Matthew Nielsen joined him. Prokom's attempt to run back into the game didn't paid off as Nielsen dominated on defense and on the boards. Javtokas detonated a dunk that showed how the Prokom defense had little energy left. Indivdual effort by Nemeth produced a four-point play that got Prokom within 73-56. Soon, Filip Dylewitcz dunked, Andersen added points and Jagodnik scored a basket, but it was way too late for a comback. Euroleague newcomers Lietuvos Rytas recorded another blowout home victory 82-69 and extended their winning streak to five games.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Gintaras Radauskas, Vilnius