BC Siauliai off to best start in EuroChallenge history

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BC Siauliai finds themselves an even 6-6 entering Round 13 of the LKL season. After jumping out to a 4-2 start, Siauliai lost four in a row to close October. One particularly notable game came on October 9th against Alex Oriakhi’s club, Zvaigzdes, in a game that pit two former UConn champions against one another. Tyler Olander not only got the better of the matchup -14 points to Oriakhi’s 6- but Siauliai came away with the 13 point victory. You can view the battle here. November has proven promising thus far for the club with two double digit wins over #10 Nevezis and #8 Tonybet. Here are the twin towers official stat line through 12 LKL games:

Player G MIN FG-FGA FG% REB BL PTS EFF
R. Olander 12 17.6 36-73 49% 4.0 0.5 8.1 7.6
T. Olander 12 12.7 18-30 60% 2.3 0.1 5.0 5.1

EuroChallenge

November also marks the start of the EuroChallenge season. As I mentioned in previous blog posts, EuroChallenge is the third tier men’s professional club competition in Europe. 32 teams from 20 countries are divided into 8 regular season round robin groups based on geography. Siauliai competes in Group H of the EuroChallenge along with Enisey (Russia), Tsmoki-Minsk (Belarus) and Usak (Turkey). The two finalists at the end of each season get promoted to the EuroCup, where clubs can then compete for a EuroLeague promotion (European NBA). Strong performance in the EuroChallenge attracts sponsors, providing clubs with financial means to attract the top international players.

Siauliai has started EuroChallenge round robin play a perfect 2-0, largely in part to the play of the twin towers. Ryan Olander leads the team in scoring at 19.5 while Tyler leads in rebounding at 5 per game. Worth mentioning- Ryan’s 76% from the field is good for third in the entire EuroChallenge. Here is a full stat line from the first two games:

Player G MIN FG-FGA FG% REB BL PTS EFF
R. Olander 2 25.5 19-24 79% 3.5 0.5 19.5 16
T. Olander 2 12.5 3-3 100% 5.0 0.0 5.5 7.5

Siauliai barely survived a November 4th contest against Enisey to open round robin play in Lithuania. Up eight with 4 minutes left, Enisey stormed back to tie the game with 30 seconds on the clock. Luckily, American Jonathan Lee (Northeastern) saved the day for the home team knocking down the go-ahead foul shot with 17 seconds remaining. Tyler Olander scored 5 of his 6 points in the fourth quarter and Ryan Olander poured in 16 points on 8-10 shooting in the 93-92 victory.

Watch the full game here.

Next, Siauliai traveled to Belarus for a matchup with fellow Group H member Tsmoki-Minsk. Ryan Olander contributed a game high 23 points on 11-14 shooting and Tyler Olander added 5 rebounds en route to a 94-91 win. As in any league at any level, road wins are especially impressive and can make all the difference come tournament time.

Watch the full game here.

The twin towers return to action tomorrow when they take on Usak-Sportif in Turkey. Usak is 1-1 in Group H play with a home win over Minsk followed by an 18 point blowout loss at the hands of Enisey. They are led by Americans Chris Warren (Mississippi), Courtney Fells (NC State) and Justin Carter (Creighton).  Siauliai is shooting a ridiculous 50% from behind the arc in EuroChallenge play and will look to add to their best start in history.

You can watch the game live on the FIBA Youtube channel at 6:30PM: https://www.youtube.com/FIBA

Check back for weekly updates…

Oriakhi signs with Pieno Zvaigzdes in Lithuania

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2011 National Champion Alex Oriakhi has signed with Pieno Zvaigzdes of the Lithuanian National League (LKL) and Baltic Basketball League (BBL). Last season, Zvaigzdes advanced to the quarterfinals of both the LKL and BBL before eventually falling short. Notable Americans who have suited up for Zvaigzdes in the past include Trevon Hughes (Wisconsin), Tyrell Biggs (Pittsburgh) and most recently Derrick Caracter (LA Lakers). Oriakhi bounced all over the world during the 2013-14 campaign with stints in France, Israel and Pennsylvania before eventually settling with the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA D-League where he averaged 7 points/6 rebounds in 43 games. Oriakhi will face former teammate Tyler Olander at a date TBD when the schedule is announced.

 

Twin Towers lead Siauliai

Twin Towers Ryan and Tyler Olander led Siauliai past second division Delikatesas, 89-68, in an exhibition tune-up. If I am translating the game summary correctly, Tyler had 15 points and 7 rebounds in 21 minutes, shooting 5-7 from the field, 1-2 from deep and 2-2 from the free throw line. Ryan added 6 points for the victors. American Jonathan Lee (Northeastern) led the club with 19 points in just 18 minutes of action. Pictures below:

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Olander brothers reunited in Lithuania

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Ryan Olander has joined brother Tyler in Lithuania, agreeing to terms with BC Siauliai on a one year deal. Olander spent last season with Lietkabelis ( of the LKL/Baltic League), averaging 11 points/6 rebounds en route to his first LKL All Star game selection. In 13 Baltic League games, Olander averaged 8 points/6 rebounds and was named Eurobasket.com All-Baltic League Honorable Mention. Olander gives the club a versatile big man who can shoot from the outside yet still provide strength underneath, allowing Tyler to be used on the perimeter as a stretch power forward.

Siauliai won the Baltic League (BBL)  in 2014 and will compete this season in the LKL, BBL as well as Group H of the EuroChallenge. For those unfamiliar, EuroChallenge is the third tier men’s professional club competition in Europe, only behind EuroCup and Euroleague (Europe’s NBA)- all under the umbrella of FIBA Europe. 32 teams from 20 countries are divided into 8 regular season round robin groups based on geography. Other Group H members include Enisey (Russia), Tsmoki-Minsk (Belarus) and Usak (Turkey).  The two finalists at the end of each season get promoted to the EuroCup, where clubs can then vie for a Euroleague promotion.

Best of luck to Ryan and Tyler and stay tuned for the latest from Lithuania…

 

Tyler Olander signs in Lithuania

UCONN hotel post Championship

UCONN hotel post Championship in Dallas

Tyler Olander has joined his older brother in Lithuania, signing with BC Siauliai of the Lithuanian National League (LKL). Siauliai won the 2014 Baltic Basketball League (BBL) title this past season led by former Georgia Bulldog/Los Angeles Clipper Travis Leslie and former Fairfield guard Derek Needham. This season, Siauliai will compete in the EuroChallenge featuring teams from across Europe including Enel Brindisi, Jerome Dyson’s former club. Although Olander’s UCONN statistics do not stand out (2.8ppg/2.6rpg in 135 games), his willingness to play out of position resulted in two National Championships during his tenure. In doing so, he became only the third player in the storied history of UCONN men’s basketball to win multiple National Championships. In Europe, Olander will be used on the perimeter as a stretch 4- much more conducive to his style of play. Congratulations to Tyler and best of luck in Lithuania next season.

Lietkabelis narrowly misses LKL playoffs

The 2013-14 Lietkabelis season officially came to a close Saturday afternoon. Needing a victory in their final regular season game to clinch a playoff berth, Lietkabelis was forced to play the waiting game after coming up short April 23rd. Sitting at #9, with the top eight clubs advancing to the playoffs, Lietkabelis needed #8 Nevezis to lose two in a row to squeak into the postseason. Although the two clubs shared identical records, Nevezis won the tie breaker by just a two point differential. To make matters worse, Lietkabelis missed a three at the buzzer in the final meeting between the two. A thirty-one game season, spanning seven months, came down to two points and one missed shot.

Lietkabelis almost got their wish as #2 Neptunas defeated Nevesis Wednesday on a last second buzzer beater (top play). Unfortunately, Nevezis final regular season game came against #5 Zvaigzdes, a club whose playoff fortunes were already sealed. As a result, Zvaigzdes rested many of their starters and Nevezis capitalized with an 80-66 victory, claiming the eighth and final playoff spot. Lietkabelis finished the LKL season at a 12-22 mark, an improvement from last year where they finished #11.

The team was led by American center Ryan Olander, who finished the season with averages of 11 ppg and 6 rpg. His complete stat line can be found below:

Games

Points FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA Rebounds Blocks Efficiency Minutes
31 11.1 141-261 10-50 6.0 0.5 10.2

27.7

It is also worth mentioning that Olander was the lone representative for Lietkabelis at the 2014 LKL All Star Game played on March 3rd in Klaipeda. Olander suited up for Rytai (Eastern Division) with the likes of former Dallas Mavericks draft pick Reynaldos Seibutis and Louisville Cardinal Juan Palacios. The West squad featured former Georgia high flyer Travis Leslie, Duke Blue Devil Martynas Pocius and Dallas Maverick Justin Dentmon. Olander finished with 6 points and 2 rebounds in 11 minutes in his All Star debut as the East lost to the West 113-108. Below is Olander’s All Star jersey:

East All Star Jersey

East All Star Jersey

Lietkabelis survives rough stretch in Rounds 21-23

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     With the LKL playoffs looming in the near future, rounds 21-23 were pivotal for Lietkabelis as they battled the top three clubs in the LKL. Lietkabelis came out of the rough stretch a very respectable 1-2 considering they had not beaten any of the top three previously this season.

     Round 21 saw #10 Lietkabelis 3 game win streak come to an end at the hands of #1 Tonybet, 83-73. Down 56-35 at half, Lietkabelis rallied in the 3rd quarter to cut the lead to 8. Tonybet took advantage of 26 personal fouls shooting 82% (23-28) to close out the game. American Darrick Leonard led the way with 14 points and Ryan Olander added 8 points/2 rebounds in the losing effort.

Watch here: http://lkl.lt/lt/top/rungtynes/?game_id=2788013&season_id=87901

     The biggest win of the season for #10 Lietkabelis came in Round 22 as they defeated #2 Zvaigzdes, 75-73. Croatian guard Goran Vrbanc paced Lietkabelis with 25 points in a game that featured 9 lead changes and saw neither team gain more than an 11 point advantage. Tied after 3 quarters, Lietkabelis shot 85% (11-13) from the foul line to seal the deal. Ryan Olander provided 4 points/6 rebounds in 20 minutes of action for Lietkabelis.

Watch here: http://lkl.lt/lt/top/rungtynes/?game_id=2788019&season_id=87901#stf

      Lietkabelis traveled to the capital city for a Round 23 bout with #3 Lietuvos Rytas in Vilnius. Unfortunately they could not build on the momentum from the Zvaigzdes win, falling 85-74. Colombian Juan Palacios (Louisville) led L-R with 20 points/8 rebounds while American Omar Cook (St. John’s) chipped in 6 points/4 assists off the bench. Lietkabelis did manage to control the boards- even with former NBA forward Darius Songaila lurking in the paint- however their inability to shoot the ball (28% from 2) led to the undesirable outcome. American Ryan Olander put up 6 points in the losing effort. Lietkabelis hosts #4 Siauliai tomorrow starting another huge stretch for the club’s playoff push. With just 9 games remaining Lietkabelis remains at #10 with games against #9 Nevezis and #7 Juventus following tomorrow’s match.

Remember: only the top 8 teams advance.

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Lietkabelis creeps closer to playoff berth with 2 wins in Rounds 19/20

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     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…

LKL Update Rounds 15-18

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Round 15: January 7th, 2014

#1 seed Tonybet picked up the road win against #11 Lietkabelis, 80-61. The game marks the fourth consecutive loss for Lietkabelis as they fall to 3-13 in league play. Ryan Olander led Lietkabelis with 16 points on 7-10 shooting while also grabbing 7 rebounds.

Video: http://lkl.lt/lt/top/rungtynes/?game_id=2787941&season_id=87901

Round 16: January 11th, 2014

Without starting center Ryan Olander (flu) #8 Juventus dominated the glass (50-35) in an 82-57 victory over #11 Lietkabelis in Utena.  American center AJ Matthews (Farmingdale St) paced Juventus with 18/10 in 23 minutes of play. Juventus led 42-24 at the half and shot 95% (22-23) from the line to close out the game.

Video: http://lkl.lt/lt/top/rungtynes/?game_id=2787947&season_id=87901

Round 17: January 14th, 2014

American David McClure (Duke) led #6 Siauliai to a 62-50 win over #11 Lietkabelis. McClure, who played high school ball at Trinity Catholic in Connecticut prior to his Duke days, contributed 13/9 in 29 minutes. Ryan Olander added 6/8/2 blocks in 32 minutes of action. Lietkabelis remains in 11th place with the loss.

Video: http://lkl.lt/lt/top/rungtynes/?game_id=2787955&season_id=87901

Round 18: January 18th, 2014

#11 Lietkabelis picked up a huge road win Saturday afternoon surviving a ferocious second half comeback against #4 Nevezis. Lietkabelis took the lead midway through the second quarter and never looked back shooting 88% (15-17) from the charity stripe to close out the game. Ryan Olander had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the victors who controlled the glass by a 46-35 margin. The win ends a 6 game losing streak and propels the team into 10th place in the LKL standings. Lietkabelis returns to LKL action February 1st as they travel to #11 LSU-Atletas.

Video: http://lkl.lt/en/top/game/?game_id=2787965&season_id=87901

LKL Update Rounds 12-14

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Update from the last 3 weeks in LKL play:

Round 12

On December 18th, 2013 8th ranked Dzukia defeated 10th ranked Lietkabelis in Panevezys by a 74-64 margin. Lietkabelis entered the 4th up 2 before a foul-plagued final quarter allowed for a 27-15 run by the visitor. Nigerian Chukwudinma Odiakosa (Illinois State) led Lietkabelis with 20 points and 7 rebounds while Ryan Olander added 9 points and 6 rebounds in a losing effort.

Video: http://lkl.lt/en/top/game/?game_id=2787919&season_id=87901#mbt:73-400$t&0=0

Round 13

     On December 21st, 2013 3rd ranked Zvaigzdes  defeated 10th ranked  Lietkabelis 86-50 at home. Lietkabelis was held to just 5 points in the first quarter and never recovered from the early deficit. Zvaigzdes shot 43% (9-21) from deep including a 3-3 effort off the bench from Latvian swingman Ingus Bankevics. American Parrish Brown (Maryland) paced Lietkabelis with 14 off the bench and Ryan Olander contributed 8 points and 2 rebounds.

Video: http://lkl.lt/en/top/game/?game_id=2787925&season_id=87901

Round 14

     Top-ranked Lietuvos-Rytas  moved to 8-0 with a 98-68 victory over #11 Lietkabelis December 27th in Panevezys. Colombian Juan Palacios (Louisville) led Lietuvos with 16 points and 7 rebounds while American Zabian Dowdell (Virginia Tech/Phoenix Suns) collected 7 points and 8 assists. Dowdell finished his college career as the seventh leading scorer in Virginia Tech history (1,785) and top five in assists (380), however shockingly went undrafted in the 2007 NBA Draft. In 2011 he was the subject of a Sports Illustrated article giving a behind the scenes look at 10-day contracts in the NBA (link found below). UCONN fans remember Palacios as a key contributor for Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals from 2004-2008. Lietuvos also features former St. John’s point guard Omar Cook who was not featured in Friday’s action. Ryan Olander scored 11 first half points -including two pick and roll dunks- battling Palacios in the post. Parrish Brown (Maryland) chipped in 8 points and 8 rebounds for Lietkabelis who fell into last place with their third consecutive loss.

Article: http://si.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1181204/index.htm

Video: http://lkl.lt/en/top/game/?game_id=2787935&season_id=87901