Rytas Vilnius take top spot in Group H; Besiktas Icrypex advance to Play-In
MIES (Switzerland) - In the final two Group H games, Rytas Vilnius secured the top spot in the group, as well as their spot in the Round of 16, while Besiktas Icrypex claimed the last Play-In spot that was up for grabs.
Rytas were able to stun back-to-back champions Hereda San Pablo Burgos with an 84-77 win on the road, completing the season sweep and sending the Spanish club to the Play-In.
This was Burgos' biggest home loss in the BCL and the loss also ended their 13-game home winning streak in the competition.
Speedy Smith sunk two clutch three-pointers down the stretch for Rytas, the first one giving them a 79-77 lead with 1:13 left and the second extending the lead to 82-77 with 53 seconds left, which put the game away.
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Smith finished with 18 points (season high), 3 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals, and also knocked down four of the team's seven total threes.
"I'm just really excited for this team," said Smith. "We played together all night, we didn't get rattled. Honestly, I don't even know what to say right now, I'm just so excited for the team because we worked really hard for these opportunities and you can see tonight that we were gelling together in the greatest way right now."
Maurice Ndour also chipped in 17 points and 8 rebounds (4 offensive) and finished with a game-high efficiency rating of 21.
Rytas had a 19-9 advantage in offensive rebounds and scored 22 second chance points compared to only nine for Burgos.
"The guys showed belief today on the court," said head coach Giedrius Zibenas. "We kept under control [Xavi] Rabaseda, we kept under control [Tyrus] McGee and [Vitor] Benite, the main guys, so big job was done defensively by our players, but job is not over. We continue in second round, we're now waiting for opponents."
Dejan Kravic led Burgos in scoring with 11 points and 4 rebounds, while sharpshooter Vitor Benite struggled with his shot, finishing 0-of-3 from three-point with 10 points and 2 rebounds.
"In a game that is so close, they made two tough three-point shots and they won," said Benite. "When two good teams are playing for this important situation, it's details, so in the end, they had the chance to make two three-pointers and I think they won because of that."
Besiktas through to the Play-In
In a do-or-die game for the last Play-In spot from the group, Besiktas got by EWE Baskets Oldenburg 88-72, completing the season sweep.
Besiktas held a narrow three-point lead through three quarters, but used a big fourth quarter (31-18) to pull away from Oldenburg.
Besiktas doubled Oldenburg in both points from turnovers (14-7) and points in the paint (44-22).
Four players scored in double figures for Besiktas including new addition Kenan Sipahi (17 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists), Dedric Lawson (11 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks), Egehan Arna (16 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists) and Trevon Bluiett (19 points, 3 rebounds).
Arna's 16 points and 3 three-pointers were both season-highs and one of them came from about three-quarters of the length of the court:
"We played a really good basketball game today," said Sipahi. "The key for our victory was that we were able to dictate our own tempo against our opponent and I think we are a team that deserves to be in the second round in top 16 and hopefully we can accomplish that."
Cameron Clark (18 points, 6 rebounds) and Tai Odiase (16 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks) had strong performances, but it wasn't enough for the German club.
"Tough loss for us, this game meant a lot," said Sebastian Herrera. "We had the right attitude for maybe 33 minutes. We were right there, we fought, but it slipped off our hands in the last quarter. We did bad decisions on both ends and that cost us the game against a good team."