The Klaipeda Neptunas basketball players ended their march in the Eurocup tournament with a triumphant victory - they took down the Saint Petersburg (Russia) team with the score of 92:74 in the "Svyturio arena."
Neptunas had nothing to play for with this game - even before the game they knew that they had no chance of getting into the second stage of the tournament, but they did not save their strength for this game.
"We're not gonna relax. To fight and seek the revenge is a matter of honour", the coach of Neptunas Kazys Maksvytis said before the game.
In fact, the players of Neptunas did not let down their fans who gathered in the “Svyturio arena” and enjoyed a pleasant win.
They started the game solidly - got up and running at 5:0, and a few moments later they had a double digit advantage with the score of 23:9.
In the second quarter, mostly due to a brilliant play from the Neptunas captain MartynasMazeika they were in the lead by 20 points with the score of 48:28.
The second half of the game was only a formality.
Neptunas - Spartak - 92:74 (25:14, 23:19, 17:19, 27:22).
The road to the Neptunas victory was set up with the 33 points scored byMartynas Mazeika (9/11 2-pointers, 3/5 3-pointers, 6/6 free throws, 30 PI points), 16 points were added by Justas Sinica, 10 points by Simas Galdikas and Valdas Vasylius, Vytautas Sarakauskas - 6, Edgaras Ulanovas - 5 (8 rebounds).
Spartak's Steven Burtt - 21 (5 turnovers), Artem Jakovenka - 17, Jaroslav Koroliov - 14, Jared Homan - 8, Donald McGrath - 6.
Martynas Mazeika (Captain of the Neptunas team): "I'm glad we won. This was our last game in the Eurocup tournament this season, so we wanted to go out with a bang. When you play at home, you always want to show off in front of your spectators and we succeeded in doing that. Even though we got a higher place in the table, we still failed to get into the second stage. We knew this before the game. How did I manage to play like that? Frankly speaking, I did not plan to play due to minor injuries. But the coach wanted to win badly today (laughs - the author's remark). I just want to thank my team mates for the efficient passes. I scored so many points because of them. I got into the rhythm from the very first minutes of the game and fought successfully up to the end. A stick sometimes shoots."
Kazys Maksvytis (coach of the Neptunas): "I am glad that we managed to go out with a bang. We had nothing to play for here and likewise for our opponents. But we had more motivation, because we lost the first game in Russia and we were playing at home today. We lacked just one win in order to continue the fight into the second stage of the Eurocup tournament. Remembering how many games we lost just to one or a few points. We had all the possibilities. We just did not have any luck. Despite all this, I think that we represented Klaipeda and the name of the whole of Lithuania honourably. Even though I am disappointed about going out of the cup, I am very pleased with the way we did so.
Talking about Martynas Mazeika, he complained about hip problems and we planned to save this player for the game with the Utena basketball team. Nonetheless, we made up our minds that he would step up in the court and Martynas would probably play the best game in the Eurocup tournament."
Gundaras Vetra (coach of the Spartak team): "Though the games were not significant, we still wanted to fight for the victory. Unfortunately, we failed. It is a pity we lost by such a big margin. We solved our tasks, wanted to save up some players for the important games with the Krasnoyarsk team in the VTB United League. Today we saw that it is hard to do something by saving up the mercenaries. On the other hand, it is important to avoid injuries. The situation in our Group H was very complicated. All the teams fought shoulder to shoulder and any team could have entered into the next stage. A lot of games were decided in the last seconds. We lost two games by just 1 point, and one game - only by 3 points. Without these failures, anything could have happened. I just wanted to congratulate Neptunas with the victory. It is a strong team."
It was Neptunas' revenge for the loss suffered against Spartak with the score of 88:75 in Russia on the 13th November. So, the total score of both games is advantageous to Neptunas.
The basketball players had 4 wins in the Eurocup tournament. They defeated the leaders of Group H, Istanbul Besiktas, in Istanbul with the score of 74:83, the Loima Bisons (Finland) with a 13 points advantage of 85:72 and the Athens Panionios (Greece) in Athens with the score of 86:91.
Another away game is being played by Neptunas against Utena Juventus (Saturday) at 5 pm, on 21st December. This is going to be a game of the Lithuanian Basketball League (LKL). Up to now, the players from Klaipeda have 4 wins and have suffered two losses and take fourth place in the tournament table.
Later on, on 30th December (on Monday) Neptunas is playing the VTB United League game with Moscow CSKA, and Neptunas is playing the nearest home game in the “Svyturio arena” with Vilnius Lietuvos Rytas on 3rd January (on Friday) at 6 pm.
- Statistika: For game statistics push here