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.

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