SIAULIAI, Lithuania – Siauliai and VEF Riga have both bowed out of the Eurocup with both teams losing their final group matches to seal their fates.
Whilst the writing was already on the wall for Siauliai going into their final game against Budivelnik, VEF still maintained an outside chance of qualifying for the round of 16 if they were to beat CEZ Nymburk in their final pool game.
However, Siauliai could not even garner some respect by mustering a win in their final game as they fell to Budivelnik in a thrilling one point affair (71-70), while there were no what ifs in the VEF camp who were beaten soundly by Nymburk 90-79.
Down by five going into the final quarter Siauliai rallied late, taking the lead on the back of a 17-3 run which set up an exciting finale with the lead changing hands on a number of occasions from there on in. As both teams opted to foul as a means to secure the ball the game ultimately came down to a free throw shooting competition in which Budivelnik would prove superior.
Just three Siauliai players made it into double figures. David Weaver was the best of those with 14 points.
Talking to eurocupbasketball.com following the game Siauliai head trainer Antanas Sireika thought that, ‘due to the close, I can say it was our best Eurocup game. [However] we still lack the understanding to work together.’
Playing away to Nymburk in the Czech Republic, Kristaps Janicenoks 25 points could not once again carry VEF as it would have in weeks gone by. The main problem was finding sufficient offensive support for Janicenoks with Derek Williams who finished with 10 points the only other player to make it into double figures.
A second quarter meltdown would also play a significant role in their loss. VEF were more than competitive in the other three quarters but losing the second 20-5 meant that VEF would struggle for the remainder of the game.