Klaipėda, “Neptūnas” earned a victory in the Eurocup match - in “Švyturio Arena“ on Wednesday, during overtime with a score of 99:90 knocked down the team Volgograd, “Krasny Oktyabr” (Russia), owned by the Russian millionaire and which even has five especially strong Americans among their ranks.
Since the start of the match a persistent fight took place - after ten minutes the guests were ahead by a minimal advantage - 17:16. In the second quarter, after a few long-shots by Travis Bader and beautiful breakthroughs by Arnas Butkevičius, the players of “Neptūnas” took the initiative into their own hands and were ahead by 4-6 points - 32:26, 36:31.
Even so, just before halftime the players from Volgograd closed in by 1 point - 42:43.
Interestingly enough that during the first two quarters T. Bader, the legionnaire of “Neptūnas” scored 17 points and attacked with a 100 per cent accuracy (5/5 3-pointers, 2/2 free throws).
In the third quarter “Neptūnas” advanced a few times to up to 7 points – 59:52, 65:58; and before the fourth quarter had a 5 point lead - 67:62.
Soon the guests made a 6:0 run and tipped the score in their favor – 68:67. The players of “Neptūnas” were not able to score a single point for more than five minutes; however, the point guard of “Neptūnas”, Daniel Ewing stepped up and organized a resultative attack and provoked a foul from an opponent - 70:68.
With 1min and 7 sec left on the clock until the end of the fourth quarter the score was even - 77:77; however, already in the next attack the guests made a resultative attack - 79:77. Immediately after that Donatas Zavackas answered with an accurate 3-pointer – 80:79. The players from Klaipėda were able to defend and the opponents began to stop the game time with fouls; and this tactic worked - Daniel Ewing made only one free throw - 81:79. The players from Volgograd were able to make a resultative attack - Jordan Hamilton got the overtime - 81:81.
The overtime reminded a real battle of the nerves, yet in the last moments Martynas Mažeika played brilliantly, made a 3-pointer and arranged a fast attack. Daniel Ewing added two points. With 20 seconds left on the clock, this allowed the players from Klaipėda to advance to a safe distance - 95:88.
“Neptūnas” - “Krasny Oktyabr” - 95:88 (16:17, 27:25, 22:16, 16:23, and 18:9).
“Neptūnas”: Daniel Ewing - 22 (5 assists), Travis Bader - 17 (5/7 3-pointers), Donatas Zavackas - 15, Martynas Mažeika - 13, Jerai Grant - 9, Arvydas Šikšnius - 7, Arnas Butkevičius - 6, and Simas Galdikas and Mindaugas Girdžiūnas - 5 pts each.
“Krasny Oktyabr”: JaJuan Johnson - 22 (13 rebounds,) Jordan Hamilton - 21 (10/11 2-pointers), Tony Mitchell - 16, Richard Guinn - 14, and D.J. Cooper - 13 (8 rebounds, 10 assists).
“Neptūnas” made 12 3-pointers out of 26 (46 per cent), whilst the opponents made only 7 out of 28 (25 per cent) and made less turnovers (11 against 20 turnovers). “Krasny Oktyabr” slightly won the fight for rebounds - 45:39.
DAINIUS ADOMAITIS: I AM PROUD OF THE MEN OF “NEPTŪNAS”
The Head Coach of Klaipėda, “Neptūnas”, Dainius Adomaitis complimented the players from Klaipėda for their fighting spirit and honest devotion after the victory in the Eurocup match (99:90) against the Team Volgograd, “Krasny Oktyabr” (Russia), owned by the Russian millionaire and which even has five especially strong Americans among their ranks.
“I am very proud of these men. If you could see how these men work during exercises, how hard they are trying and making sacrifices, you would understand what I am talking about. Every coach wants to have such working men. They really wanted this victory and they earned it. The men simply had a burning desire to grant their spectators that victory; it is gratifying, that we were able to” - said the Head Coach of “Neptūnas”.
He complimented Travis Bader who earned 17 points (up to halftime had a 100 per cent accuracy – 5/5 3-pointers, 2/2 free throws; however later on missed two 3-pointers).
“Everyone wanted the victory and they were constrained; however, those points by Travis Bader set the team in motion. Bader was “hot”. His 3-point throws gave a breath of fresh air which inspired everyone and we began to play the kind of game which we demonstrate during exercises. Thanks to our fans for a wonderful atmosphere. This was an important victory against the match versus Vilnius, “Lietuvos rytas”; especially psychologically. In the match versus “Krasny Oktyabr” we did not make a lot of mistakes. The fight for rebounds is not the way I want it, so we have to spend time for it during exercises. After the loss, “Lietuvos rytas” will arrive even angrier. They lost two games in a row and the situation is that they cannot lose the third game. We are playing at home and we are not hiding our ambitions to defeat them” - said the Klaipėda’s team coach.
He emphasized that they still need to adjust how “Neptūnas” plays and get rid of the injury trail.
“The team is constantly troubled by various small injuries. Today we made more than 20 assists and I am glad that the men supported each other. It was a game which I want to see. Jokingly, perhaps we should skip one training day and go together to a church because we are always suffering from injuries. For example, Martynas Mažeika strained his ligament when he tried to advance and his finger got caught in the opponent’s jersey; but Martynas is the captain and a fighter and he never complains” - thought D. Adomaitis.
After the match, Donatas Zavackas one of the more experienced players of “Neptūnas” did not hide his mood.
“The mood is happy. I am pleased that we won. We needed this victory like we need air. It was difficult, but the important is the positive result. The team from Volgograd is very talented in individual players, but today we did not give in - we more or less controlled the rhythm of the game; were ahead more often. We held our concentration throughout the whole game and due to that the opponents fell apart” - rejoiced the old-timer of team “Neptūnas”.
Kiril Bolshakov, the coach of “Krasny Oktyabr” did not hide his disappointment for such a loss.
“It was an equal match, yet with great compassion I must accept that we lost. I think that everything was determined by the two 3-pointers scored by “Neptūnas” in the most important moments: the first one - at the end of the fourth quarter; the second one - close to the end of the overtime. Our players made mistakes, did not interchange, were not able to defend and now we have a negative result” - emphasized the coach of “Krasny Oktyabr”.
The author of the article - Paulius Matulevičius