Zalgiris caps off a perfect two-game week holding off Fenerbahce

2021-11-19T21:31:22+00:00 2021-11-19T22:17:04+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

19/Nov/21 21:31

Edgaras Ulanovas becomes the key factor for Zalgiris Kaunas against his former team

By Johnny Askounis/

Looking for the latest turnaround in a tough situation, Zalgiris Kaunas doubled up this week in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague with the 86-75 victory against Fenerbahce Beko Friday.


Edgaras Ulanovas, coming off the rough 2020-21 stint at Fener, recorded 18 points behind 6/9 field goals, including 3/4 triples to ignite the Zalgirio Arena during the Regular Season Round 11 contest. His side jumped to 2-9.

“I’m not a better player after two games, I’m not a worse player after four bad games. That’s what I believe,” he pointed out after the game, “After the season we can talk about what’s good and bad. When it’s bad sometimes it can be difficult, but when it’s good you don’t need to relax and enjoy it too much. To be together and to believe is the most important.”

Veteran guard Mantas Kalnietis posted an 11-point, 11-assist double-double for undermanned Zalgiris. Zoran Dragic contributed 13 points, Tai Webster had 11 points, and Tyler Cavanaugh added ten points.

“I’m surprised,” said Kalnietis on his first EuroLeague double-double, “It means that I start to play better now!”

The Lithuanian powerhouse trailed through the first quarter, but jumped in front early in the second period and went up by a margin of 15 points in the third. Responding to the comeback bid by restoring the double-digit advantage in the fourth quarter sealed the deal.

“We had a bad third quarter, they scored 30 points, and I said to the players before the last quarter we have just 12 points until we have allowed 70. And they worked hard,” summed up Jure Zdovc, “In the end, we relaxed after we won the game, but the goal was achieved.”

After the recent positive coronavirus test, Niels Giffey was missing for Zdovc. Among other unavailable players, injured stars Paulius Jankunas and Joffrey Lauvergne, along with the most recent newcomer Regimantas Miniotas. Dyshawn Pierre and Danilo Barthel were sidelined for the visitors.

Nando De Colo went for 17 points, five assists, and four rebounds but was not enough for the team coached by Sasha Djordjevic in Lithuania. Jan Vesely and Pierria Henry followed with 13 points each. The Turkish side was forced down to 3-8 with the third loss in a row.

“As soon as we got closer to them, they got some big shots. Ulanovas got a couple of big threes, and this lifted up their spirits again. We were missing one good defense and one big shot to get back in the game,” noted the visiting head coach, “Tough loss for us but we have to go on.”

With the momentum from the two consecutive wins packed, a visit to FC Barcelona coached by Zalgiris legend Sarunas Jasikevicius follows next Friday, after a domestic LKL affair at home opposite Uniclub Casino – Juventus. Fener will be heading at Besiktas Icrypex on Sunday at the domestic level, before hosting Turkish rival Anadolu Efes in Round 12 of the EuroLeague Regular Season next Thursday.