Zalgiris juniors make it to the ANGT Kaunas final 1

U18 Zalgiris Kaunas reached the final of the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Kaunas for the fourth year in a row as it held off U18 CSKA Moscow 83:68 to reach Saturday’s title game.

Rokas Jokubaitis poured in 17 points for Zalgiris, which has now won 19 qualifying games in a row in Zalgirio Arena dating back to the 2011-12 season. Ignas Sargiunas added 10 points and 5 rebounds as Zalgiris took Group B honors with a 3-0 record and will square off against U18 CFBB Paris in Saturday’s title game.

Aleksandr Ershov paced CSKA with 17 points. CSKA took second place in Group B and will play Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius from Group A for third place on Saturday.

Ershov started on fire with 7 points as CSKA went up 9:5. Martynas Arlauskas came up with a steal and fast break score for Zalgiris’s first lead at 11:10. Ershov followed with 4 more points as CSKA pulled back ahead 14:11. Vitalijus Kozys picked up 4 points in a 6:0 spurt as Zalgiris took a 17:14 edge. Yury Umrikhin took the initiative with a pair of driving layups as the lead switched hands again at 20:17 only to see Jokubaitis hit 5 points and put Zalgiris ahead 24:23 after 10 minutes.

Neither team was really able to pull away in the second quarter as CSKA’s 32:28 cushion was the largest before the final moments of the first half. Jokubaitis and Kozys combined for all the points in a 10:0 Zalgiris run to finish the second quarter up 43:35.

Dmitrii Khaldeev came off the CSKA bench for 4 points and a three-point play from Alexander Khomenko pulled the team within 44:47. Khaldeev had two more baskets to try to keep CSKA close, but Grantas Vasiliauskas and Arlauskas both knocked down triples as the lead grew to 62:49. And the advantage was 64:50 after 30 minutes.

Erikas Venskus’s three-point play to start the fourth quarter increased the cushion to 17. Khaldeev continued his strong fourth quarter with 4 points as CSKA got as close as 56:69. But Zalgiris finished off CSKA for good with a 10:2 surge for a 79:58 advantage.


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