VEF Riga used a dominating defensive performance en route to 46-100 win over Budivelnik Kiev, and remained undefeated at the Kaunas NIJT Qualifying Tournament on Saturday morning. Riga improved to 2-0 in a share of the lead of Group B, and will play against Lietuvos Rytas on Saturday night for a place in Sunday’s final. Riga forced 32 turnovers, as Ricards Melderis had 17 points, 13 steals and 8 assists. Verners Kohs paced the winners with 26 points plus 9 rebounds, while Emils Caune scored 14. Meanwhile, Budivelnik which dropped to 0-2, had Oleksandr Tarasenko, Klym Liiv and Vladyslav Sotnichuk each score 10 points. Budivelnik had a slim 8-5 lead early, hanging in behind baskets from Tarasenko and a pair of triples from Olexiy Masalskyy. But Melderis hit a triple to spark quarter-ending 3-15 run, and with help of three-pointers from Kohs and Caune, it gave Riga 16-29 lead. Baskets from Janis Skvarnavics and Kohs at the start of the second quarter extended the advantage, and Rauls Avenitis triple pushed it past the 20-point barrier, 18-39. Riga continued to run away with it, and with 5 triples on the ensuing 7 possessions, lead reached 30-59 at halftime. After the break, Denys Kanivets, Liiv and Tarasenko scored for Budivelnik, but margin continued to grow with baskets from Kohs and Caune, before Melderis strung together 6 points making it 36-78 after three quarters. Riga kept the intensity in the fourth quarter, too, and behind steals from Melderis and baskets from Kohs, closed out the game.
Saturday, February 8, 2014