Seibutis stars in OT as Lietuvos Rytas sinks Panathinaikos
Renaldas Seibutis sank a jumper with 5.5 seconds remaining in overtime to lift Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius to an 84-83 win over Panathinaikos Athens in a Thursday night thriller in Group D. It was 45 minutes of drama in Siemens Arena, as neither team held more than a 6-point advantage throughout the game. Panathinaikos survived in regulation thanks to Dimitris Diamantidis, who sent the game into overtime with a three-pointer 18.8 seconds before the end of fourth quarter, but Seibutis was the hero at the end, hitting almost two identical jump shots from 5 meters in the final 90 seconds of the extra session. Seibutis finished with game-high 19 points, Darius Songaila had 13 points plus 8 rebounds, and Omar Cook scored 10 points, while dishing out 11 assists. Also in double figures for Rytas, Juan Palacios with 12, and Steponas Babrauskas with 10. For Panathinaikos, Jonas Maciulis collected 13 points and 8 rebounds, while Ramel Curry and Mike Batiste scored 12 apiece. James Gist and Loukas Mavrokefalidis each had 10 points.
First quarter: Hot shooting keeps teams even
Gist knocked down the first shot of the season for Panathinaikos, and Cook opened Rytas's account with a triple. Gist also hit from downtown for the Greens, but the hosts opened the game in great shooting rhythm, going in front 13-7 after Martynas Gecevicius and Cook each scored from behind the arc, and Songaila added a baseline jumper. Gist scored inside and Loukas Mavrokefalidis from mid-range, but Stevan Jelovac made basket-plus-foul for 17-11. However, Roko Ukic ignited a 0-8 run, contributing both on defense and offense, scoring a fast break layup and assisting for a Mavrokefalidis jumper, before Curry nailed a jumper of his own for 17-19. After a timeout, Milenko Tepic and Jelovac made jumpers for the hosts, while Mavrokefalidis had a put-back and Batiste hit a baseline shot at the other end, as the teams remained tied 25-25 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Rytas catches up with Seibutis triples
Palacios and Gecevicius scored baskets inside to start the second quarter, but Batiste made a reverse layup and Diamantidis got a friendly roll on a long jumper to keep it square, 29-29. After Songaila’s slam dunk, Nikos Pappas and Curry hit jump shots, and Pappas added a triple to make it 33-36. Songaila answered from top of the key, but Batiste hit two shots for the Greens, extending the margin to 36-42. However, Seibutis hit back-to-back three-pointers to send the teams into the halftime break tied at 42-42.
Third quarter: The see-saw battle continues
Steponas Babrauskas started the third quarter with a layup, but Curry nailed a triple, and Maciulis made a put-back for 44-47. Maciulis added a driving layup, but with both teams picking it up on the defensive end, Songaila had to hit a pair of jumpers to get the hosts going. Then Seibutis nailed a triple for a 53-49 lead. Maciulis was the go-to guy for the Greens, making a runner, before Tepic increased the hosts’ tally with a long two. Ukic again ignited Panathinaikos with a slashing move to the rim and an offensive rebound after which Antonis Fotsis hit a triple of the glass, 57-58. Maciulis scored another basket from close range to keep Panathinaikos ahead, but Cook sank a shot just before the buzzer to make it 59-60 after three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Diamantidis sends the game into overtime
Neither team scored in the opening two minutes of the quarter, before Curry and Babrauskas traded three-pointers to keep the margin unchanged. Baskets were few and far between, as a dunk from Lasme made it 62-65. Palacios sparked Rytas, driving for a lay-in, followed by a basket-plus-foul for a 67-65 edge midway through the fourth quarter. Maciulis answered right back with a triple from the right corner, before Seibtuis and Mavrokefalidis traded top-of-the-key jumpers to keep the see-saw battle going. When Seibutis hit from long range, Rytas went in front 72-70, and stayed in front keeping the visitors without a basket for more than three minutes. Palacios and Seibutis each split free throws, extending it to 74-70 at the start of the final minute, but there was Diamantidis. After just missing 3 of 4 free throws, and missing his first 6 three-point attempts in the game, Diamantidis sank one from downtown with 18.8 seconds to go. Cook and Songaila tried to win it for Rytas, but missed tough shots on the last possession in regulation, and the game went into overtime.
Overtime: Seibutis shines with the game on the line
Maciulis opened the extra session making free throws, before Ukic made a driving layup. But Babrauskas took matters in his own hands, sinking a triple and a driving coast-to-coast for a layup and a 79-78 lead. Babrauskas also contributed defensively, stealing a pass from Gist, but the hosts failed to capitalize on it as Songaila made only 1 of 4 free throws on the next two trips down the floor. After a jumper from Seibutis, Rytas entered the final minute up 82-81. Panathinaikos regained the lead with a put-back dunk from Gist, but Seibutis nailed a jumper from 5 meters with 5.5 seconds on the clock to make it 84-83. After a timeout, the Greens had two attempts for victory, but Ukic missed a triple and Fotsis’s tough shot at the buzzer hit the rim, allowing Rytas players and fans to erupt in jubilation.
Thursday, October 17, 2013