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VILNIUS– Lietuvos Rytas have kept alive their chances of a berth in the Euroleague round of 16 while results of other games have confirmed Zalgiris ticket past the group stage.
Needing to win their final three games to have any chance of advancing, Lietuvos Rytas have made it two from two so far and now just they just need to repeat feat a week from now.
Their latest victory came in nail biting fashion, being up by as many as five points in the dying stages, only to allow their opposition Regal FC Barcelona to bring the game back to be within a point following two successful Ricky Rubio free throws in the final 10 seconds. To the relief of fans and players alike, Regal FC Barcelona were not allowed to get another shot off, allowing Lietuvos Rytas the 88-87 victory.
Milko Bjelica stood out for Lietuvos Rytas, ending the night with 19 points.
To their advantage, they come up against the winless Cibona Zagreb in their final game, whilst Cholet Basket, whom they are attempting to knock out of fourth spot in their group have a far tougher assignment as they face up against Fenerbahce Ulser.
If Cholet Basket is to win, they will automatically advance but if they are to lose, and Lietuvos Rytas win then a count back will come into play to decide who the fourth team from the group to advance is.
Despite losing for the second week running, Zalgiris have still managed to advance with a week remaining, thanks to Maccabi Electra’s 80-76 victory over BC Khimki on Thursday.
Playing their latest game at home on Thursday night under the tutelage of their former-now-returned-trainer Rimantas Grigas, Zalgiris did well to rally back from a 19 point deficit but it still was not enough to overcome Caja Laboral who held on 95-89.
Caja Laboral’s key to success was the shooting of Mirza Teletovis who tied the Eurobasket three-point shooting record by landing nine from outside the perimeter, helping him to a game-high 32 points.
Paulius Jankunas was the best of the hosts with 17.