Zalgiris cruise past Juventus, but Vytautas make Lietuvos Rytas sweat
After a couple of tough challenges in the Betsafe LKL, Zalgiris put together a much more convincing performance against Juventus, rolling past the guests from Utena 88-66 at the Zalgiris Arena in Kaunas on Thursday evening.
The defending Lithuanian champions accumulated their advantage after intermission, as they outscored their opponents 22-12 in the third quarter to increase a 46-38 halftime advantage to 16 points in the period.
Axel Toupane led the Kaunas club with a game-high 18 points after connecting on 11-of-13 attempts from the free-throw stripe, while Kevin Pangos added 17 points and 6 assists.
For Juventus, point guard Anthony Ireland played for the first and second fiddle, finishing the game as the only double-digit scorer for the visitors with 16 points to his name.
It was the fourth consecutive loss for Utena, who find themselves at the bottom the standings with a 0-4 record, while Zalgiris improved to a 4-1 mark.
In the other game of the day, Lietuvos Rytas had some trouble in Prienai but held on to take a 75-69 win away from home against the winless Vytautas behind a 21-point night from Australian guard Ben Madgen.
Rokas Giedraitis chipped in with 12 points for coach Rimas Kurtinaitis, while Robert and Marc Carter had 11 and 10 points, respectively. The club's newcomer Loukas Mavrokefalidis marked his debut for the Vilnius side with 5 points in 7 minutes of playing time.
Meanwhile, 34-year-old veteran big man Tadas Klimavicius turned in a performance to remember, scoring a team-high 20 points, as Eigirdas Zukauskas collected 18.
The win brought Lietuvos Rytas into a three-way tie with Zalgiris and Neptunas, who also have 4-1 records, while Vytautas is tied for last place after losing all four games.