BC Siauliai was eliminated from Last 16 consideration in heartbreaking fashion yesterday, losing to Usak (Turkey) 78-75 on a half court buzzer beater at the end of regulation. Siauliai and Usak were competing for the last spot in the Final 16 out of Group H, with the ultimate goal a trip to the championship. The first three quarters were typical for a game with such high stakes, featuring 18 lead changes and 12 ties leading up to the dramatic finish. Siauliai held the lead 75-73 before a VERY questionable foul (see second video) called on Ryan Olander allowed Usak to tie the game on free throws. Following a Siauliai miss in the waning seconds, Courtney Fells (NC State) collected the rebound, took two dribbles and launched the game winner from behind the half court line. See shot below:
Here is the full game, see 1:43:00 for the INCREDIBLY QUESTIONABLE foul call to keep Usak in the game:
It’s hard to tell what’s more heartbreaking, the half court heave or the foul called on a clean block…at home!
Though the EuroChallenge season is over for Siauliai they will still compete in the LKL (Lithuanian National League) through April. The club currently sits at 8-6 (#5) with 25 games remaining.
Niels Giffey has returned to the capital of soccer and schnitzel, inking a 3 year deal with German club Alba Berlin. Giffey had competed for Alba at the junior level from 2008-10 before becoming a two-time National Champion at the University of Connecticut. Following the 2014 National Championship, Giffey went undrafted before joining the Memphis Grizzlies summer league team in early July. After a disappointing stretch that saw no playing time, Giffey bolted to Vegas, suiting up for the Utah Jazz. It was in Vegas Giffey reached terms with Alba sporting director Mithat Demirel (pictured above) who was in town scouting. Although the terms of the deal have not been released, it would be fair to assume Giffey negotiated an out-clause allowing him to opt out and sign with a NBA team if the opportunity presented itself.
Background on Alba Berlin (from team website)
- Largest national basketball club in Germany
- Competes at O2 World Arena averaging 10,000 fans, one of the most well attended in Europe (see below)
- Participates in both the German League and EuroLeague (European equivalent to NBA)
- Has won 8 German Cup Championship’s since 1996
- Features former Big East players Reggie Redding (Villanova) and Levon Kendall (Pittsburgh)
Here is some video from Giffey’s last stint in Germany, the 2013 European Championship when he made his debut with the men’s national team:
Congratulations to Niels on his homecoming and I look forward to covering him in the fall.
Lietkabelis took advantage of 58 points in the paint to dismantle #11 LSU-Atletas by a score of 93-71 in Round 19 play. The game was not only a big road win for #10 Lietkabelis but also put them another game ahead of last place LSU. The victors controlled the glass by a 44-30 margin, neutralizing 7’3 center and LKL leading rebounder Tomas Urbonas. Russian center Ivan Nelyubov had a huge game for Lietkabelis, leading the team with 32 points and 8 rebounds. Ryan Olander contributed 4 points and 3 rebounds while American newcomer Darrick Leonard (Aurora College) finished with 2 points/5 rebounds in his first game.
Full game can be watched here: http://lkl.lt/en/top/game/?game_id=2787989&season_id=87901
In Round 20 action, Lietkabelis held on for a 85-77 home victory against #9 Dzukija. The win had playoff implications for #10 Lietkabelis, putting the club within one game of Dzukija as both teams battle for the last postseason berth (top 8 advance). Russian center Ivan Nelyubov tallied a double double for Lietkabelis (20/11) while American Darrick Leonard chipped in 19/9 off the bench. Ryan Olander added 16 points on 6-9 shooting (including 2 3’s) and 6 rebounds (4 offensive) for a 16 efficiency rating. Lietkabelis returns to the hardwood February 18th against #1 seed Tonybet in an attempt to continue their climb in the standings. Tonybet has defeated Lietkabelis in all three meetings this year by an average score of 15.
Full game can be watched here: http://lkl.lt/lt/top/rungtynes/?game_id=2788003&season_id=87901#stf
Check out this big dunk by Olander during a recent BBL match up (20 second mark):
Also note the song is not only real but played before every BBL game…