VEF Latvia defeated Kalev Tallinn at home, 82-74 (15-20, 16-17, 29-10, 22-27).
VEF: Artis Ate (23), Andrejs Grazulis (17 + 8 reb), Arturs Ausejs (12), Steve Zack (10 + 6 reb), Jabril Durham (10 + 6 ast)
Kalev: Chavaughn Lewis (19 + 6 ast + 3 stl), Kristjan Kitsing (14), Landen Lucas (13 + 7 reb), Branko Mirkovic (11 + 5 ast)
VEF snapped a four-game skid to begin the season, taking down rival Kalev at home behind a big game from Artis Ate and a huge 3rd quarter. Ate scored a game-high 23 points on 7-9 shooting from beyond the arc, while VEF ran rampant in the 3rd, outscoring Kalev 29-10 to blow open a close game.
The Latvians were outscored in each of the other three quarters, but it made no difference as they escaped the VTB League cellar and moved into a tie for 13th place with Kalev at 1-4.
Chavaughn Lewis led the way for the visitors with 19 points, providing some measure of offense with leading scorer Ivan Almeida finishing with two points in limited minutes.
Trailing by 13 to start the 4th quarter, Kalev had a chance to catch the home team, quickly cutting the deficit to eight, 62-54, courtesy of a 7-2 run.
The visitors had multiple opportunities to pull even closer, but missed their next three field goals before a pair of Ate triples quickly stretched the lead back to 12.
Ate scored 12 of his 23 points on four 3-pointers in the 4th quarter to ensure VEF remained in control, giving the home team a crucial first win.
After opening the season with a win, Kalev has lost four in a row.
VEF head coach Janis Gailitis: “Thank you to my players and thank you to the fans who came to support us today. They gave the team the boost they needed. The atmosphere in the arena was excellent. The guys played with heart today. They were aggressive, especially under the basket. I liked how we played on offense and that we showed our toughness.”
Kalev head coach Donaldas Kairys: “The turning point was the 3rd quarter, when we had a small advantage. We should have continued playing aggressively, but we ran out of energy. VEF looked good during that stretch and took a decisive lead. We had a chance to win, but we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities.”