«Tsmoki-Minsk» Minsk, Belarus vs. «Neptunas» Klaipeda, Lithuania
Tsmoki-Minsk break into win column
In Week 14 of the regular season, Belarussian Tsmoki-Minsk handled Lithuanian Neptunas at home, 93-71. The home team slowly but surely extended their lead throughout the contest on the way to enjoying their first VTB United League win this season.
There’s a battle going on for survival as well as for the trophy. The league underdogs often play some of the best games of the week. For confirmation, just rewind the first meeting between Neptunas and Tsmoki-Minsk. Now they meet again, this time in Minsk, where the fans have yet to celebrate victory.
The beginning did not look promising for the home team. Three consecutive turnovers helped Neptunas score seven unanswered. The Belarussians made up their deficit thanks to some 3-pointers. Korshuk, Ginevicius and Kudrautsau each hit from beyond the arc to go in front, 13-11. Despite a large number of turnovers, Tsmoki hardly missed any shots and their high percentage helped them build the lead to 24-17 at the end of the quarter.
It should be noted that Tsmoki newcomer Tierre Brown fit in quickly. No one on Neptunas could keep up with the speedy American guard. The experienced Brown scored easily from midrange and already had 15 points (7-8 from the field) by halftime. Tierre’s teammates also got hot, which gave the home team a double-digit lead after two periods of play: 48-36, 80% from the field and 75% on three-point attempt, a healthy advantage for Andrei Krivonos’s team.
Overconfident to begin the third, the home team relaxed on defense and Neptunas dropped their lead to seven points. The Lithuanians could do no more, though. Turnovers, missed shots and even trouble at the charity stripe by Deividas Gailius erased their hard work. Minsk went on a 12-0 run and regained their confidence. The score was 68-54 ahead of the final quarter.
Unfortunately for basketball fans, the game was deprived of an interesting conclusion. Tsmoki responded with a basket of their own for every Neptunas make. Halfway through the period, the Lithuanians lost all hope of a comeback, while the Belarussians celebrated their first win of the season in the VTB United League, 93-71.
Star of the Game
Tierre Brown. The 33-year-old American’s League debut coincided with Tsmoki’s first win of the season. Coincidence? No, after all, Brown’s 23 points and ridiculous field-goal percentage (68%) laid the cornerstone to the Belarussian team’s success.
Stat of the Game
27 – number of Tsmoki-Minsk turnovers. That’s a stat unlikely to be recorded again in a game like this. Unlike other squads with similar statistics, the Belarussians not only avoided losing by a wide margin, but even gifted their fans a blowout win.
Tsmoki-Minsk: Tierre Brown – 23 points; Pavel Ulyanko – 14 points; Dzianis Korshuk – 12 points, 11 rebounds.
Neptunas: Deividas Gailius – 17 points, five rebounds; Marius Runkauskas – 15 points; Valdas Vasylius – 12 points; Laurynas Mikalauskas – 10 points.