Kalev Estonia defeated Tsmoki-Minsk Belarus on the road, 95-82 (29-19, 26-17, 22-21, 18-25).
Tsmoki-Minsk: Brion Rush (21), Devon Saddler (20 + 5 reb + 9 ast), Zisis Sarikopoulos (16 + 11 reb), Vitali Liutych (12)
Kalev: Arnett Moultrie (22 + 12 reb), Chavaughn Lewis (17 + 7 ast), Janari Joesaar (14 + 6 reb), Branko Mirkovic (12 + 8 ast)
Kalev picked up its first win of 2019 in the Belarusian capital, 95-82, by racing to a 19-point lead at halftime.
The visitors sparkled on offense, dishing out 24 assists and shooting 43% from beyond the arc (10-23).
Kalev seized control late in the 1st quarter with an 18-2 run. Arnett Moultrie scored on consecutive possessions to erase an early 14-11 lead for Minsk and Janari Joesaar added a pair of 3-pointers as the visitors went up 29-16 in the span of four minutes.
Chavaughn Lewis SLAMS as Kalev runs 12-0 in 1st Q vs Tsmoki 🔥 pic.twitter.com/CQ7LSGbp3M
— VTB United League (@VTBUL) January 13, 2019
Minsk never got closer than nine the rest of the game. Despite knocking down 11 3-pointers and getting 20+ point performances from guard tandem Brion Rush and Devon Saddler, the home team struggled with turnovers (19) and was outrebounded by 19 (44-25).
Kalev made a living on the offensive glass, pulling down 20 and outscored the Dragons by 21 on second-chance points.
Moultrie led the way for the Estonians, recording his second double-double of the season with 22 points and 12 rebounds on 10-17 shooting.
Trailing 55-36 at halftime, Tsmoki’s best chance to get back in the game came early in the 4th quarter. Down as much as 25 late in the 3rd, the Dragons went on a 22-7 run to cut the deficit to 10, 81-71. Devon Saddler was the key, scoring 11 points in less than three minutes, including three 3-pointers, to open the 4th.
After forcing a Kalev turnover on the next possession, the Dragons had a chance to pull within seven, but Rush missed from beyond the arc and the visitors responded with a 5-0 run to put the game out of reach.
Kalev improves to 6-7 with the win, squeezing out Nizhny Novgorod for the final playoff spot. Tsmoki drops to 2-10.
5-3 – Kalev has gone 5-3 since beginning the season with a 1-4 record and moved into playoff position with today’s win.
Tsmoki-Minsk head coach Aliaksandr Krutsikau: “Congratulations to the visitors. They deserved to win. Unfortunately, we already trailed by 19 in the first half. In the second half, we were a little more competitive. But I’d like to point out two areas of concern: One, we did a very bad job on the defensive glass. We were also inconsistent on offense, especially with turnovers. We had 10 in the first half and nine in the second. We had a chance to get back in the game thanks to switching up our defense, but Kalev’s big lead let them control the game until the end, unfortunately.”
Kalev head coach Donaldas Kairys: “After playing in our domestic league, where we lost to VEF, we focused on rebounding. We knew that here in Minsk we would need to win the glass to have a chance at winning and I think we got the job done. We had 20 offensive rebounds, which gave us a chance to pull away and take a win from Minsk.”