Anadolu Efes escapes in Kaunas 58
Anadolu Efes Istanbul extended its winning streak to eight games with a hard-fought 68-74 road win at Zalgiris Kaunas on Tuesday night at the packed Zalgirio Arena. The victory improved Efes’s record to 12-2 to remain in sole possession of first place in the standings, while Zalgiris lost its eighth consecutive game to drop to 3-11 and a share of last place.
Tibor Pleiss and Vasilije Micic led the visitors with 18 points apiece; Pleiss also pulled down 7 rebounds. Rodrigue Beaubois netted 16 points for Efes.
Jock Landale had 16 points for the hosts, Edgaras Ulanovas collected 14 points and 7 rebounds and Martinas Geben had 11 points in a losing effort.
Geben and Zach LeDay combined to score 10 points for the hosts, but Beaubois strung together 7 points, including a triple, before Pleiss and Krunoslav Simon kept Efes rolling, with Simon’s corner triple helping open a 10-18 lead midway through the first quarter. Ulanovas hit from downtown for Zalgiris, but Pleiss and Beaubois scored two baskets each to keep Efes in front 17-26.
Landale scored 8 points in the early going of the second quarter, including a pair of three-pointers, and Arturas Milaknis hit back-to-back triples to cap an 11-2 run and give the hosts a 35-34 lead. Micic and Alec Peters hit a triple apiece for Efes, but Zalgiris scored the final 6 points of the half, including Ulanovas from close range and Thomas Walkup from long range to make it 43-42 at halftime.
A three-pointer from Beaubois was the only basket in almost 4 minutes to open the third quarter, before Pleiss and Sertac Sanli scored inside to make it 43-49. Zalgiris needed almost 6 minutes to score, but nailed two triples in the last 90 seconds of the quarter, one from Landale and one from Ulanovas, that made it 53-55 going into the fourth quarter.
Micic strung together 7 points, including a fastbreak layup and a triple from way downtown, to open a 57-64 lead. Jumpers from Walkup and Milaknis got Zalgiris closer and Landale scored inside to make it 65-68. However, Micic took it to the rim and Shane Larkin made a tough runner in traffic to put 65-72 on the scoreboard with 1:24 left in the game as the visitors wrapped things up for another win.