VILNIUS - The Baltic Basketball League is in full swing now, keeping Lithuanian sports fans glued to the TV screen. Yet the most recent games have held little excitement. The two clubs at the bottom of Group B, Nevezis and Panevezys, met each other in Kedainiai on Nov. 11. With its home court advantage, Nevezis beat Panevezys 89 - 72, the team's second win of the season.
After six minutes of play in the first period, Panevezys was ahead 10 - 8. However, the hosts managed to come back with a 9 's 0 run, flipping the scorebord to 17 's 10, Nevezis.
Mindaugas Sakalauskas sent Nevezis fans into an uproar with a long-range shot in the second quarter. But the mood quickly changed when Panevezys newcomer Virginijus Sirvydis scoredÂ two points on a foul. Indeed, both teams showed strong defense, but by half-time the game was back in the hosts' hands, 39-31.
Early in the third period, Panevezys struck back. The mood among Nevezis fans was tense until their team scored nine long-range shots, once again defending their reputation as one of SEB's best teams. By the second half of the quarter, Nevezis already had a 16 point advantage (68 - 52). Panevezys showed a nice 10 - 0 run in the final period, but Nevezis was able to keep the opposition from coming much closer.
Home team players Sakalauskas and Zydrunas Stankus scored 25 and 18 points respectively, while Panevezys' Pociuipa had 17 points and 7 rebounds.
The next day, Nevezis pulled off yet another showcase performance, sweeping Atletas Kaunas with an almost insulting 100-62.
Unfortunately, the SEB outsiders' poor performance sucked all intrigue from the game. Atletas' players looked almost stunned as Nevezis swished shot after shot. At the beginning of the second quarter, Nevezis earned a double-digit advantage and sustained it for the rest of the game. And the hosts only increased their lead, clearly enjoying themselves all the while.
Tomas Rinkevicius scored 21 points with 5 assists for Nevezis, while star forward Sakalauskas tallied up 20 points with 11 boards.
On the loser's side, only forward Valdas Dabkus, scoring 23 points, and center Remigijus Trakimas (19 points, 14 rebounds) were able to walk off the court without shame.
Nevezis' next game is against Latvian club team Ventspils on Nov. 25. The team currently stands in fifthÂ place at 3-6. Atletas stands in seventhÂ place at 1-8.