Credit: BNS
Credit BNS

Zalgiris Kaunas (2-0) played their second game of the Lithuanian Basketball League and beat Dzukija Alytus (1-1) 105-100 (26-17, 14-20, 17-14, 24-30, 14-14, 10-5).

Led by Emmanuel Mudiay and Josh Nebo, Zalgiris began pulling away in the middle of the first quarter. After a 3-pointer by the team captain Paulius Jankunas, Zalgiris built a 13-point advantage. However, Dzukija managed to cut their deficit to single digits at the end of the first period (26-17).

Dzukija went on an 11-0 run to start the second, tying the game at 28. Both teams traded baskets for the remaining quarter, but Zalgiris ended the half with six straight points and had a three-point advantage after two (40-37).

Dzukija continued fighting admirably in the third and were only down by two in the middle of the period (44-42). Even though Zalgiris gained a nine-point lead at one point, Dzukija weathered the storm once again and had just a three-point deficit after three (57-54).

Two straight long-range bombs by Dzukija helped them tie the game at 59. Not only that, Dylan Frye hit two consecutive threes, giving his team a 65-70 lead. Lukas Lekavicius answered with two treys of his own, Mudiay added two free throws, and Zalgiris' deficit was down to a single point (72-73).

Zalgiris' prospect Marek Blazevic helped his team regain a narrow lead, but Joshua Newkirk's 3-pointer tipped the scales back in Zalgiris' favor (76-78). Mudiay tied the game again after two free throws with under 40 seconds to go.

On the opposite side, Newkirk drained a last-second three to put his team back up by three. After the timeout, Arturas Milaknis answered with a clutch three of his own. Dzukija had a chance to win the game at regulation, but Frye's long-range attempt was off the mark, and the game went into overtime.

Dzukija did not get discouraged in overtime and went tic for tac with the EuroLeague team. The game was tied with under two minutes remaining, but Newkirk went on another tear, hitting his fourth 3-pointer and giving his squad a three-point lead. Niels Giffey had a chance to bring Zalgiris within one but missed at the charity stripe. Frye hit both free throws of his own to make it a two-possession game with 20 seconds to go.

Zalgiris answered with a dunk by Niels Giffey, Dzukija turned the ball over while inbounding the ball, and Mudiay hit a pull-up jumper to tie the game at 95 to send the game into the second overtime.

Both squads struggled to find the net in the last five minutes, as the first score come from Dzukija with 3:06 remaining (98-95). Zalgiris responded with two straight buckets to re-take the lead, Mudiay had four more points and Zalgiris finally edged out Dzukija 105-100.

Edgaras Ulanovas did not play in this game due to heel soreness, while Joffrey Lauvergne missed the contest due to personal reasons. However, Karolis Lukosiunas returned to action after recovering from an injury he sustained during a pre-season tournament in Turkey.

Zalgiris: Emmanuel Mudiay 32 (6 REB, 6 AST), Josh Nebo 16 (7 REB, 2 BLK), Lukas Lekavicius 11 (7 AST, 4 REB), Paulius Jankunas 11 (7 REB), Marek Blazevic 9 (6 REB, 3 STL), Arturas Milaknis 6, Tyler Cavanaught 6, Niels Giffey 5, Janis Strelnieks 5, Mantas Kalnietis 4.

Dzukija: Justas Furmanavicius 26 (5 REB), Joshua Newkirk 25 (5 AST, 4 REB), Dylan Frye 16 (5 REB, 4 AST), Mindaugas Lukauskis 13.

After the game, Zalgiris head coach Martin Schiller was happy with the win and the way his team took care of the ball. "We turned the ball over eight times in a double-overtime game, which is good. That helped us to get over the hump."

Asked about whether playing two extra periods against the team like Dzukija raised red flags, the Austrian specialist wouldn't concur: "Oh no, two overtimes are not a red flag for me. The best thing about the game was that we won it."

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