«Neptunas» Klaipeda, Lithuania vs. «Enisey» Krasnoyarsk, Russia
Two overtimes, one happy ending and one tragedy
In Week 9 of the regular season, Russian Enisey overcame Lithuanian Neptunas on the road, 89-88. The game required two overtimes and incredible drama to determine a winner. Zabian Dowdell’s buzzer-beating shot helped Enisey win their fourth straight game.
This game didn’t have much outside buzz coming in, but the fans still expected an exciting contest. Both clubs have demonstrated entertaining, attacking basketball this season and all that remained was to see which team would shoot better on the night.
Field-goal percentage affected the first 10 minutes of play. Neptunas hit several shots midway through the quarter to secure an early six-point lead, 22-16. Both teams began the game cautiously, looking to work through the paint. Lithuanian Vytautas Sarakauskas held up his end of the bargain, outrebounding his opponent Hasan Rizvic. Enisey’s absence on the boards, however, was soon filled by the team’s newcomer, Davon Jefferson, who grabbed 5 rebounds in the quarter.
In the second period, Kazys Maksvytis instructed his club to shoot more from beyond the arc, but the strategy backfired. The home team’s lead stalled and near the end of the second quarter, Enisey knotted the game up, 36-36 entering halftime.
Aleksey Kotishevskiy’s 3-pointer in the middle of the third quarter pulled the visitors ahead. Maksvytis immediately called a timeout and replaced Deividas Gailius, with 12 points already, with 3-point specialist Marius Runkauskas. Neptunas’s guard repaid his coach’s and the fans’ trust, drilling three shots, two of them from beyond the arc. Neptunas led 55-50 with 10 minutes to play in regulation.
The hosts maintained their lead, until Davon Jefferson checked back in. The American scored eight points in one and a half minutes, restoring the game’s intrigue. The final minute looked likely to be decisive. Neptunas had several excellent chances to increase their lead and secure their second win, but missed free throws undid them. Overtime.
The final minute of the first overtime proved just as exciting as the final minute of regulation. Enisey combined beautifully on offense, but Jefferson got called for a foul and Neptunas regained possession, the score 82-82. The home team, thanks to two offensive rebounds, had three chances to score but came away empty-handed. On the other end, Zabian Dowdell seized control, driving the lane and scoring a pretty layup with his left hand. Three seconds left and a two-point lead for Enisey! All the visitors had to do was stop Neptunas one more time, but Vladislav Konovalov’s men couldn’t do it. Somehow, Martynas Mazeika ended up wide-open near the arc and knocked down a jumper at the buzzer – 84-84, second overtime. Only the second such game in VTB United League history.
The pace of the game slowed a bit – each team used almost the full 24 seconds allowed on offense. With two minutes to go, Neptunas took a 3-point lead. Three missed 3-pointers from Dowdell and Kotishevskiy didn’t stop Enisey – the Russian team secured three offensive rebounds and finally fed Gubanov underneath for two points. With nine seconds to go, Konovalov took a timeout and Dawdell scored on the decisive possession. Neptunas had no time for an answer…Enisey wins, 89-88, in double overtime!
Star of the Game
Zabian Dowdell. The American led his team in playing time, field-goal percentage, and placed second in points scored. Thanks to his layup in the fourth quarter, Enisey sent the game into overtime. A similar play kept the team alive in the first overtime, and, of course, his jumper in the second overtime won the game!
Stat of the Game
64% - Neptunas’s poor free-throw percentage sunk them in this game, particularly at the end of regulation, when they had an excellent chance to put Enisey away.
Neptunas: Deividas Gailius – 21 points, 11 rebounds.
Enisey: Davon Jefferson – 19 points, 13 rebounds.