Lietuvos Rytas led from start to finish in beating Spartak St. Petersburg 71-62 to finish the 2011-12 Eurocup season in third place. Ronnie Seibutis scored 21 and Jonas Valanciunas posted a double-double as Rytas controlled the paint and outrebounded Spartak 38-25.
The winners started hot from downtown and finished 8 of 15 from behind the arc, while Spartak never found its groove. A pair of Seibutis threes made it 15-5 midway through the opening quarter and Rytas cruised the rest of the way. The lead peaked at 19 in the second quarter, but Spartak rallied late to get within 4. However Steponas Babrauskas stepped up when needed and Rytas regained control en route to the victory. Seibutis went 4 for 6 from behind the arc and 9 for 10 from the line in addition to 4 assists for the winners. Aleksandar Rasic added 12 points, Valanciunas had 10 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks
and Mindaugas Katelynas netted 10 for the winners. Eurocup MVP Patrick Beverley paced Spartak with 18 points and Vladimir Dragicevic scored 17 in defeat.
The game opened with both teams settling for outside shots, but it was Rytas that connected first with a Seibutis triple and a Rasic jumper. Yotam Halperin connected from downtown for Spartak’s first points before Seibutis from the line and Valanciunas on the offensive rebound of Seibutis’s missed free throw made it 10-3.
Beverley followed in a missed Halperin shot, but Rytas continued to own the flow. Valanciunas corrected an Arturas Jomantas miss, came up with a big block on defense and then Seibutis hit his second three to make it 15-5. Even after a Spartak timeout, a Valanciunas steal led to a Jomantas free throw.
Anatoly Kashirov hit back for Spartak, but Rytas kept raining threes as Rasic made it 21-7. Aleksey Zozulin gave Spartak hope with a three and then a steal and foul drawn. Three free throws by Katelynas over two possessions kept Rytas in total control, 24-10, after 10 minutes.
Beverley opened the second quarter with a long jumper and Dragicevic scored in the paint to trim the gap to 10. Valanciunas displayed his power inside with an offensive rebound and a slam.
Lawrence Roberts was next to dunk on the Spartak defense and soon after Valanciunas made it 30-14. Seibutis made his third three for a 19-point Rytas lead. Miha Zupan got on the scoreboard for Spartak. A Beverley three made it 33-20 midway through the second quarter. Valery Likhodey took charge for Spartak with 5 quick points to bring his team within 35-25. A Rasic triple got a lot of rim before falling in to protect Rytas’s comfortable lead. A Halperin triple in the closing seconds of the half made it 40-30 at halftime.
Rsic scored twice in the first minutes of the second half as Rytas reasserted control. Beverley was credited with his 10th points thanks to a goaltending call and Kashirov’s basket kept Spartak’s slim hopes alive. Halperin made it 46-36 midway through the third quarter. A Babrauskas pull-up jumper put Rytas back up by 14. Likhodey and Katelynas traded three-pointers. Dragicevic hit a mid-range jumper and a Beverley steal, layup and foul brought Spartak within 9 for the first time since the opening quarter. Babrauskas hit back from the line to make it 55-44 through three quarters.
Beverley continued to fuel Spartak with a big three. Then he dished to a cutting Dragicevic to close the difference to 6. Dragicevic further narrowed the gap to 55-51 as all the pressure shifted to Rytas. Babrauskas looked to rescue Rytas with a triple, but Dragicevic scored on the ensuing possession for Spartak. Seibutis padded the Rytas lead from the line to make it 62-53 midway through the fourth quarter. Beverley drove hard for a layup and then Dragicevic got to the line to bring his team within 6. A pair of Katelynas jumpers sandwiched a Dragicevic layup. The Spartak forward attacked the glass to keep his team alive, but a Seibutis triple with just under two minutes to go practically sealed the outcome, 69-60. A Spartak timeout tried to come up with a plan for a late frantic run, but it was to no avail. Seibutis free throws with 1:15 left just about sealed the outcome as Rytas finished its Eurocup season on a winning note.