U18 Zalgiris Kaunas booked a spot in the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Ljubljana first place game by fending off U18 Next Generation Team Ljubljana 65-68 to take top honors in Group A. Motiejus Krivas secured the win with a tip-in basket and blocked shot in the final 13 seconds as Zalgiris finished group play at 3-0 and set up a date Sunday against reigning continental champion U18 Real Madrid. Krivas ended with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks while Paulius Murauskas collected 16 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists and Kajus Kublickas added 11 points. The winner of the first place game will secure a ticket to the ANGT Finals at the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four in Belgrade, where they will join U18 ASVEL Villeurbanne, U18 Stellazzurra Rome and U18 PFYM INSEP Paris, the first-placed finishers at the ANGT Belgrade, ANGT Patras and ANGT Varese, respectively. Urban Kroflic poured in 31 points in the loss but no other player scored in double figures as NGL dropped to 1-2.
Zalgiris grabs win, sets up date with Real in first place game
Krivas opened the scoring with a three-point play and Joshua Bonga’s triple put Zalgiris ahead 2-6. Kroflic sparked NGL’s first run with five points to take the lead 11-10. Murauskas picked up three points at the other end and Bonga scored for a 14-19 lead, which was 16-19 after 10 minutes. Murauskas scored three points early in the second quarter and the advantage was 18-24. NGL reeled off a 15-3 run - with Kroflic scoring eight points - to pull ahead 33-27. Zalgiris stopped the surge and was down 35-31 at halftime.
Zalgiris came out of the locker room in style with Murauaskas, Mantas Laurencikas and Kublickas hitting three-pointers in a 0-15 run for a 35-46 lead. Kroflic hit a triple for NGL’s first points after more than 7 minutes. That started an 11-2 surge with Kroflic beating the buzzer with a three-pointer to trim the deficit to 46-48 after 30 minutes. Krolic drained another triple early in the fourth quarter and NGL was within 49-50. Zalgiris came up with a 3-11 run to open a 52-61 cushion. NGL would not give up as Bautista Rodriguez scored four points and Kroflic’s three-pointer cut the deficit to 63-66 with 86 seconds left. Two Halvine Dzellat free throws made it a one-point game but Krivas tipped in Bonga’s miss with 13 seconds left to make it 65-68. Krivas then blocked Kroflic’s shot at the other end and Dzellat just missed and Zalgiris secured the win.