2014/15 LKL Season in Review: ROlander, TOlander and Oriakhi

The 2014/15 LKL season has come to a close for the Twin Towers of Olander and former UConn National Champion Alex Oriakhi. Here is a look back on the season in review including final statistics, best performance, and top play for each player:

Gintaras Siuparys

Gintaras Siuparys

Ryan Olander and BC Siauliai entered the LKL playoffs with the #7 seed, in a best-of-five matchup with #2 Lietuvos Rytas. The Lithuanian powerhouse proved too strong for Siauliai, knocking them out of the playoffs with three straight victories behind the play of Americans Billy Baron (UVA/URI), Mike Moser (UCLA/Oregon) and Travis Leslie (Georgia/LA Clippers).

Though a strong season overall, which included a Baltic Basketball League Championship, Olander put forth his strongest numbers when it mattered most- during EuroChallenge play. The EuroChallenge is the third-tier professional league in Europe and Olander ranked in the top three converting on 73% of his field goal attempts- drawing interest from competitors in the process.

BC Siauliai Final Record: 18-22

R. Olander G MIN FG% FT% RPG PPG RANK
Siauliai 41 17.4 54% 62% 4.0 7.6 7.7
Euro-Chal. 6 21 73% 55% 3.7 11 9.8

Best Game: November 12th, 2014: Siauliai 94 – Tsmoki-Minsk (Belarus) 91. Olander had 23 points on 11-14 shooting to go along with 4 rebounds and 1 assist in a road win over Tsmoki-Minsk.

Top Play: The chuckle from the announcer is by far the best part.


Gintaras Siuparys

Gintaras Siuparys

Tyler Olander played the first half of the season with BC Siauliai before he was loaned to Mazeikiai for the remainder of the year for more playing time. Since joining the 1-24 Mazeikiai in February, Olander led the club to a 5-8 record in his 13 games averaging 7 points and nearly 5 rebounds in the process.

Mazeikiai Final Record: 6-32

T. Olander G MIN FG% FT% RPG PPG RANK
Siauliai 23 11.7 55% 84% 3.0 5.0 5.5
Mazeikiai 13 17.2 44% 73% 4.8 7.2 7.7

Best Game: February 28th, 2015: Lietuvos Rytas 76 – Mazeikiai 70. Tyler exploded for 14 points and 9 rebounds in just 20 minutes of action in a near upset of #2 Lietuvos Rytas.

Top Play: Olander appeared at #2 in the BEKO LKL Top Ten plays for Round 22 with this mid-air adjustment.


eurobasket.com

eurobasket.com

Alex Oriakhi led the Pieno Zvaigzdes “Milk Stars” to the #4 seed in the LKL playoffs, straight into a matchup with #3 Juventus. After splitting the first four games of the series, the Milk Stars fell short in Game 5 by a 69-61 margin, ending their season. Although it was a tough end to the year, Oriakhi put together a strong year numbers-wise and was elected a starter in the LKL All-Star game. With his rights still owned by the Sacramento Kings of the NBA, Oriakhi has returned stateside to compete with the Kings summer league team.

P. Zvaigzdes Final Record: 24-16

2014/15 G MIN FG% FT% RPG PPG RANK
A. Oriakhi 41 18 55% 61% 6.8 8.8 10.6

Best Game: January 31st, 2015: P. Zvaigzdes 99 – Siauliai 97. In an impressive month of January where he was named Player of the Month, Oriakhi led the Milk Stars over the Twin Towers with 17 points and 14 rebounds (8 offensive) in 20 minutes.

Top Play: Oriakhi extends for the dramatic finish off an oop from teammate Michael Dixon for #2 on the BEKO LKL Top Ten regular season plays.


Stay tuned for season reviews for all of UConn Country in Europe!

Ryan Olander posterizes Lithuanian center (video)

Gintaras Siuparys

Gintaras Siuparys

A species comprising less than 1% of the world’s population, seven footers or “footers” are a rare breed. Whether intentional or not, life at such a high altitude leaves them especially susceptible to be victimized by posterizations, leading to hanging heads and slumped shoulders- currently the largest known threat to the species. The most recent victim, 7’0 Kymantas Simonas of Tonybet, was reduced to extinction after this shame-inflicting dunk from Siauliai’s Ryan Olander, seen below at #5 in this week’s BEKO LKL’s Top Ten plays.

Since winning the Baltic Basketball League Championship earlier this month, Siauliai has gone 2-2 in their return to LKL play. With only 4 league games remaining, Siauliai is essentially locked at the #7 seed and is slated to play #2 Zalgiris when first round play begins in May. This year’s LKL playoffs will follow a best of 5 format for all three rounds of action.

More to come when official seeding is released…

Olander and Siauliai win Baltic Basketball League Championship

bbl.net

bbl.net

The League

The Baltic Basketball League (BBL) is a regional competition comprised primarily of teams in the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania but has included clubs from Finland, Kazakhstan, Sweden and Russia in previous years.

The Format

The BBL includes a regular season featuring two groups of six teams and one group of seven that leads to a Top 16 knockout stage in which qualifying clubs play a home/away against their competitor. The winner is decided by who has the greatest point differential. For example, if UConn lost to Duke on the road 68-66 (-2) but won at home 77-74 (+3), UConn would advance to the next round (+1 overall). Siauliai began the playoffs with the #1 seed, an honor bestowed to the previous years champion.

The Bracket

bbl.net

bbl.net

The Playoffs

#1 Siauliai cruised through the playoffs, easily defeating #13 Parnu (Estonia) and #10 Lietkabelis in the first and second rounds. The semifinals presented a Lithuanian Cup Bronze Medal rematch, with Siauliai squeaking by #4 Juventus by just 4 points. On March 12, Siauliai won by a 4 point margin, 73-69, and on March 22nd, the teams played to a 60-60 tie to allow Siauliai to advance. The beauty of this type of basketball is literally every point counts.

The Championship

This years championship matchup pit the 2013 Champion BC Ventspils (Latvia) versus 2014 Champion BC Siauliai (Lithuania). The first game, played on March 25th, saw Ventspils defeat Siauliai at home behind 14 points from Jerai Grant (Clemson) brother of Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant.

Here is the press release from the first game. 

In order to repeat as BBL Champions, Olander and Siauliai needed to win Wednesday’s matchup by at least 3 points. It was not looking good for Siauliai early in the second half, as the visitors from Latvia pulled ahead by double-digits. Just as the game was slipping out of reach, Siauliai used a 13-2 run to even the score. The clubs went back and forth for the remainder of the 4th quarter, leading to a thrilling overtime. Siauliai jumped out to an 8 point lead to begin the extra session and never looked back, taking both the game and BBL crown by an 88-80 margin. Rokas Giedraitis led the Lithuanians with 22 points while Ryan Olander added 8 points and 3 rebounds in the victory.

Here is the press release from the final game.

Gintaras Siuparys

Gintaras Siuparys

The Implications

Not only does a Baltic Basketball League Championship provide regional bragging rights and monetary incentives, the Champion is also assured a spot in the following year’s EuroChallenge- the third-tier level transnational men’s basketball competition. The EuroChallenge feeds to the second-tier EuroCup which leads to the first-tier FIBA Euroleague aka the European NBA. The best way for a mid-level club such as Siauliai to increase its reputation in the European basketball scene is by continuing to play in the most competitive leagues available. This can be achieved one way and one way only- by winning.

bbl.net

bbl.net

What’s Next?

With the BBL Championship under their belt Siauliai will now compete for the LKL (Lithuanian National League) Championship. Currently sitting at #7, with 8 games remaining, Siauliai has all but solidified a berth in the LKL playoffs. Best of luck to Siauliai in their quest for yet another Championship…

More pictures…

Gintaras Siuparys

Gintaras Siuparys

Gintaras Siuparys

Gintaras Siuparys

Twin Towers continue to win in Lithuania

Gintaras Siuparys

Gintaras Siuparys

The Baltic Region was ripe with victory last week as both Olanders picked up big wins for their respective clubs. Ryan Olander dropped 13 points/4 rebounds in a win for #7 Siauliai over #8 Lietkabelis while Tyler Olander just missed a double-double contributing 9 points/9 rebounds for #11 Mazeikiai in their upset of #9 Tonybet.

If you missed my previous post, Tyler Olander has been loaned from Siauliai to Mazeikiai, where he will finish the season. Catch up here.

Siauliai – Lietkabelis

Highlights:

Full Game:

Mazeikiai – Tonybet

Highlights:

Full Game:

Ryan and Siauliai return to action tomorrow with a Lithuanian Cup bronze medal rematch against #5 Juventus. Meanwhile, Tyler and Mazeikiai battle Alex Oriakhi and #4 Zvaigzdes in a primetime matchup on Saturday.

Air Olander strikes again…

bcsiauliai.lt

bcsiauliai.lt

Tyler Olander had 13 points and a team leading 6 rebounds as #7 Siauliai rolled over #11 Mazeikiai, 86-61. Ryan Olander finished with just 4 points but once again provided the play of the game, on this lob the announcer clearly did not expect him to finish:

Air Olander makes an additional appearance, in this week’s LKL Top 10 plays (#7).

Siauliai returns to action January 31st, against Alex Oriakhi and #6 Zvaigzdes. Oriakhi is averaging 10 points/7 rebounds on the year but his club has fallen to Siauliai in both meetings this season.

 

Siauliai loses to Rytas; adds American Jeff Allen (VT)

Gintaras Siuparys

Gintaras Siuparys

#7 Siauliai hung tough for the duration of the game but took home the loss yesterday against #4 Lietuvos Rytas, 88-72. Down 46-32 at half, the club rallied during a 28 point third quarter to within two, but ultimately could not overcome Rytas’ hot shooting (42% from three). Ryan Olander had 2 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in the loss.

Highlights:

Full Game:

In other news, Siauliai has added former Virginia Tech forward Jeff Allen. Allen finished fourth place all-time at Virginia Tech with 1,111 career rebounds and also became the first player in ACC (not to be confused with AAC of course-big difference) history with 1,500 career points, 1,000 rebounds, 200 steals and 150 blocked shots. Allen comes to Lithuania from Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli Premier League -the top national league in Israel- where he was averaging 11 points/4 rebounds.

Here are some highlights from Allen’s VT days:

Olanders lead #7 Siauliai to Victory (Video)

Gintaras Siuparys

Gintaras Siuparys

Ryan Olander had 12 points/4 rebounds and Tyler Olander played possibly his best game of the season adding 9 points (on a perfect 3/3 from downtown) and a team-leading 7 rebounds in #7 Siauliai’s 92-61 victory over #9 Prienai. The win snaps a four game losing streak for Siauliai and puts them two games ahead of #8 Lietkabelis, who clings to the last playoff berth. Ryan Olander’s dunk in the first half was voted the “Moment of the Game” and has led some in Lithuania to call him “Air Olander”.

Game highlights can be found below with TOlander appearing around the 1:05 mark and ROlander at 2:15:

The full game can be viewed here:

Siauliai returns to action January 18th when they take on Lithuanian powerhouse Lietuvos Rytas. Rytas, featuring Travis Leslie (Georgia/LA Clippers) and Billy Baron (UVA/URI), compete in both the LKL and EuroCup (think Jerome Dyson). Leslie led Siauliai to the Baltic Basketball League (BBL) championship last year before signing with Rytas.

Twin Towers lose another heartbreaker (video)

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Gintaras Siuparys

We last checked in with the Twin Towers in mid-December after Siauliai had been eliminated from EuroChallenge contention on a half-court buzzer-beater. Not to worry, there is still much basketball to be played. This season, Siauliai competes in both the top national league, Lithuanian Basketball League (LKL), as well as the competition-based EuroChallenge (invite only).  Remember, European clubs play in multiple leagues. Some are national, others regional and select are competition-based off the previous season’s performance. Siauliai earned an invite to the EuroChallenge after a 2013-14 campaign that saw the club win its first Baltic Basketball League (regional) title. Siauliai failed to advance in EuroChallenge play but will still compete for the LKL championship in April.

The holiday’s proved a rough stretch for Siauliai as they have gone 1-3 in their past 4 games. The club dropped to #6 in the standings (9-9), after another tough home loss, this time at the hands of #4 Juventus. Siauliai jumped out to a 48-37 lead at halftime before watching Juventus pull to within 1 with :20 seconds remaining. On the inbound, Juventus’ Rashaun Broadus (BYU) shook free from his defender for the game winning lay-in. Watch below:

Ryan Olander had 9 points/5 rebounds while Tyler Olander added 5/3 in a losing effort. Broadus led Juventus with 17 points/3 assists. Here are the complete stats for the Twin Towers through 18 games:

LKL G MIN FG-FGA FG% 3PM-A 3P% REB AS PTS EFF
R. Olander 18 19.1 56-109 51% 4-12 33% 4.1 1.0 8.4 7.9
 T. Olander 18 12.6 31-51 61% 7-25 28% 2.8 1.0 5.3 5.9

With 20 games remaining, #6 Siauliai must remain #8 or higher to advance to the LKL playoffs. Siauliai is off for a few days before returning to action January 17th against #9 Tonybet.

Here is a video compilation of the Top 10 plays of 2014, posted to the club’s Facebook fan page. Ryan Olander makes two appearances in the Top 10 at 19 seconds and 1:52.