U18 Zalgiris Kaunas avoided a misstep to start its Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Ljubljana with a dominant 103-52 victory over U18 GAK Basketball Academy Gdynia in Group A. The two-time continental champion scored the game’s first 14 points and led by 21 points in the first quarter in cruising to the win, taking the rebound battle 61-23 and holding Gdynia to just 1-of-24 (4.2%) on three-pointers. Paulius Murauskas led the way for Zalgiris with 22 points and 17 rebounds while Joshua Bonga collected 14 points and 7 rebounds and Motiejus Krivas chipped in 11 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. Jakub Andrzejewski was the sole player for Gdynia in double figures with 16 points.
Zalgiris way too much for Gdynia
Bonga and Murauskas both hit three-pointers in a 0-14 start to the game for Zalgiris. Gdynia needed more than 3 minutes before Jakub Bereszynski scored the team’s first points. Emilis Bartninkas added five points as Zalgiris pushed the lead to 8-29, and it was 10-29 after 10 minutes. It was 13-31 when Zalgiris mounted another push with Petras Padegimas converting a three-point play and Bonga knocking down a three-pointer for a 14-42 advantage. Antoni Sierwuk had four points for Gdynia but the Polish side trailed 18-49 at the break.
Zalgiris made sure there would be no upset, with Murauskas scoring seven of the first 12 points of the second half for an 18-61 cushion. The advantage swelled to 22-70 midway through the quarter. Zalgiris took its foot off the gas and Maksymilian Wilczek scored five points as Gdynia made it 36-76 after 30 minutes. Zalgiris needed more than 2 minutes to score in the fourth quarter but Gdynia was only able to score three points and the game had already long been decided.