U18 Zalgiris Kaunas remained perfect at the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Ljubljana with a 68-53 victory over host side U18 Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana in Group A. Zalgiris opened the second half on a 17-2 run and carried that momentum to the win for a 2-0 record despite committing 28 turnovers. Motiejus Krivas collected 17 points, 15 rebounds and 2 blocks while Paulius Murauskas tallied 12 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks and Kajus Kublickas scored 12 points. Cedevita dropped to 1-1 in the group despite Vukasin Todorovic scoring 14 points and Vice Zanki chipping in 12 points and 6 steals.
Zalgiris rides second half to second win
Kublickas opened the game for Zalgiris with a three-pointer while Todorovic scored the next five points. There were three more lead changes and Murauskas made it 11-8. Zalgiris struggled to find its rhythm, failing to score for more than 3 minutes with Lon Lican draining a triple at the other end for Cedevita, which led 13-17 after 10 minutes. Zalgiris needed more than 3 minutes to score in the second quarter but Cedevita only had a Tomas Belina three-pointer to make it 13-20. Kublickas converted a three-point to cut the deficit to 18-20. After Zanki and Joshua Bonga both hit triples Rok Popovic had Cedevita ahead 25-31. Zalgiris kept Cedevita scoreless for the final 2 minutes and Emilis Bartninkas hit a three-pointer and Krivas converted a three-point play to give Zalgiris the lead 32-31 at the break.
Zalgiris continued the momentum going in the second half with the first five points for a 37-31 lead. Todorovic finally got Cedevita on the board, but the Lithuanian powerhouse kept up the pressure with Petras Pedegimas’ three-pointer starting a 12-0 run for a 49-33 advantage. Zalgiris’ offense went cold and Cedevita scored 10 straight points to close within 49-43. Mantas Laurencikas’ three-pointer snapped the drought and Bonga put Zalgiris ahead 54-44 after 30 minutes. Bartninkas gave Zalgiris the lead 56-44 as Cedevita went more than 2 minutes without a score. Todorovic’s three-pointer trimmed the gap to 56-49 but Murauskas punched back with a triple of his own to re-establish a double-digit lead and start a 10-2 run over the next 6 minutes to lead 66-51. All told, Cedevita scored just four points in the final 7 minutes.