Ulanovas career-night helps Zalgiris to hold off Efes 15
Zalgiris used a big advantage on the glass and fine performances by Edgaras Ulanovas in the first half and Paulius Jankunas in the second to hold off Anadolu Efes Istanbul 91-83 on Thursday at Zalgirio arena. The win improved Zalgiris to 5-4, while Efes dropped to 2-7 at the bottom of the standings.
Zalgiris led for most of the night and extended its margin to double-digits midway through the fourth quarter, before holding off the visitors in the final two minutes. Ulanovas scored 20 of his career-high 22 points in the first half, and also had 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. Jankunas scored 17 points with 6 rebounds for Zalgiris, which pulled down a season-high 16 offensive boards and outrebounded the visitors 40-29. Brandon Davies had 12 points and Kevin Pangos finished with 10 points and 7 assists in victory.
Bryant Dunston led Efes with 17 points and 6 rebounds. Josh Adams netted 15, Ricky Ledo 13, Krunoslav Simon 12 and Brock Motum – in his return to Kaunas – had 11 points in defeat.
The teams traded baskets early on and Adams and Ledo each hit a three-pointer to make it 9-13. Toupane and Ulanovas led the way for the hosts before a three-point play by Jankunas gave Zalgiris an 18-16 edge. Anatanas Kavaliauskas scored inside and Aaron White had a fastbreak dunk, but Efes finished the quarter on a 0-8 run, with Dunston making a pair of baskets and Simon beating the buzzer with a three-pointer for a 22-26 lead.
Zalgiris fixed the defensive leaks early in the second quarter and held the visitors without a single field goal for almost five minutes. In that span, White hit a three-pointer and Pangos and Jankunas scored from close range to make it 33-28. Efes answered through Dunston, but a Dee Bost three-pointer and baskets from Jankunas and Ulanovas made it 44-37. Simon and Ulanovas traded threes, before Zoran Dragic scored a fastbreak layup to set the score on 47-44 at halftime.
Efes briefly regained the lead after a mid-range jumper by Ledo, but Davies scored on both ends of a 9-1 run, which also included a three-pointer from White, 56-49. The hosts went into the final quarter up 66-61 when dunks by Davies quickly extended the margin to 71-61. Ledo and Toupane traded triples, but Ulanovas and Paulius Valinskas fed Jankunas for consecutive mid-range jumpers, which extended the margin to 78-66 midway through the fourth quarter. Efes had no solutions for Jankunas , but Ledo had a three and Dunston a three-point play that cut the deficit to 84-79. Dunston’s reverse dunk got the visitors within 86-83, but after a timeout, Pangos drove for a basket and then hit a three-pointer to seal the outcome.