Rome snaps 22-long winning streak of Zalgiris’ juniors 3
U18 Stellazzurra Rome ended U18 Zalgiris Kaunas’ reign over the Euroleague Basketball adidas Next Generation Tournament Kaunas with an 88-75 victory to dethrone the five-time qualifying tournament champions and reach the ANGT Kaunas final.
Paul Eboua collected 23 points and 15 rebounds for an index rating of 35 to pace Stellazzurra, which won Group A with a 3-0 record and will take on the winner of Group B for a ticket to the ANGT Finals in Belgrade in May’s Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four. Russel Tchewa chipped in 20 points and 7 rebounds in the victory, which snapped Zalgiris’ 22-game winning streak at Zalgirio Arena, dating back to 2012. Luca Conti added 16 points for the winners.
Zalgiris, which will play for the third place on Sunday, got 20 points and 10 assists from Rokas Jokubaitis and Arnas Adomavicius scored 15 points. But Zalgiris was out-rebounded 52-22, which was enough for Stellazzurra to overcome 23 turnovers.
The game was tight early at 9-9 before Stellazzurra took its first mini-lead 14-9. Volodymyr Markovetskyy pulled the game to within 20-18 but Stellazzurra scored the final 7 points of the first quarter topped by Aristide Mouaha’s three-pointer at the buzzer to go up 27-18 after 10 minutes.
Eboua started taking over with three big dunks and a jumper as the margin grew to 38-26. Then Tchewa scored twice down low and Lorenzo Donadio nailed 2 three-pointers and Stellazzurra was ahead 54-34. The gap was 54-37 at the break.
After Stellazzurra got the lead back up to 20 points, Zalgiris fought to close to within 61-48. But Conti scored the next 8 points and Stellazzurra was ahead 69-48. The cushion was 72-50 after 30 minutes.
Zalgiris scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter to trim the gap to 72-60. Stellazzurra continually came up with answers through big baskets until Adomavicius’s three-pointer made it 82-74 inside the final 2 minutes. But Mouaha and Eboua came up with big scores to secure a trip to the Kaunas final.