The cup holders Lietuvos Rytas will try to defend the trophy on Saturday against Zalgiris Kaunas, who defeated Siauliai in the first semi-final of the day.
“It was hard for Kedainiai side to play in Siemens Arena, it was the first time that most of their players played in such a big venue, the game was televised and that’s why we won so easily,” said Rimas Kurtinaitis, the coach of Lietuvos Rytas.
Kenan Bajramovic finished the game as the top-scorer with 25 points in his account, Jonas Valanciunas collected 15 while Justas Sinica and Stepas Barauskas added 14 and 10 respectively.
“Valanciunas is a very good player for the fans. I would compare him to Sabonis at that age,” Lietuvos Rytas coach said after the game. “It’s good that he’s very hard-working and is very down-to-earth, unlike some other Lithuanian big men. He lacks some letters in his basketball ABC, but he’s very savvy. Valanciunas is playing very well at this level, but would lack experience for Euroleague or for games against Zalgiris.”
Arturas Jomantas scored only six points, but dished out five dimes, drew four fouls, made three steals and grabbed three rebounds as well to finish with a ranking of 19.
“At the moment Ginevicius is playing better than Milosevic, but we allow the Serb some more playing time so he could get into the game faster as he has just recently joined us,” Kurtinaitis said. “I don’t know who’ll start tomorrow against Zalgiris yet.”
Nevezis’ Egidijus Dimsa top scored for his side with 16 points and 8 rebounds, Gytis Maciulevicius knocked 3-of-4 from beyond the arch to finish with 10 and Rolandas Alijevas added 9.
“Most of the players played in Siemens Arena for the first time, that’s why they came out scared. Not so much of Lietuvos Rytas as the whole atmosphere,” Nevezis coach Kastytis Kundrotas said after the game. “We had to maneuver with the roster we have, because tomorrow’s game is much more important for us.”
The visitors from Kedainiai went on a 9:0 run to swing the game to 9:5 at the start of the game, with Nevezis leading the way for most of the first quarter. Only one point separated the teams after the first period, but Lietuvos Rytas rallied 10:0 to gain a double-digit lead in the second quarter – 28:18. What was a 10 point gap, had doubled by the time both teams were heading to the dressing rooms for the halftime interval.
“I want to congratulate Lietuvos Rytas, they deserved the victory much more. We’ll try to fight for the third place tomorrow,” Egidijus Dimsa, who top-scored for Nevezis, said.
Just like in the previous semi-final, Lietuvos Rytas followed the footsteps of Zalgiris and allowed role players to play more minutes as the team cruised to an easy victory in the second half.