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Siauliai Fight Back To Deny Galatasaray

14 October 2008

A dramatic finish saw BC Siauliai claim a 73-73 tie in the first leg of their EuroCup qualifier against Turkish giant Galatasaray Caf Crown on Tuesday.

Galatasaray used an 18-3 second-half run to overturn an early deficit but just as it looked as though they were cruising to victory, Siauliai came back to bite them in the final seconds.

The Lithuanians had stunned their visitors early on by building a huge lead that reached 17 points, 38-21, when Gintautas Vileita hit a pair of free throws with 4:23 remaining in the first half.

But the strength of the Turkish team shone through late in the game as they fought back.

Dejan Milojevic hit jump-shots that started and finished the run that saw them turn a 10-point deficit into a 61-56 lead with a little under eight minutes left to play.

It looked like they might sail to the finish as they continued to pull away, with Marshall Strickland's three-pointer putting them 73-63 ahead with less than three minutes to go.

But Siauliai had other ideas and Gintaras Kadziulis' three-pointer sparked a 9-0 run that closed the gap to one point, 73-72 with 33 seconds to go.

As Galatasaray tried to set up the winning play, Mindaugas Kuzminskas came up with a crucial steal and Antonio Graves was forced to foul Vileita, sending him the line with a chance to put Siauliai ahead with five seconds on the clock.

Vileita had been a perfect six of six from the line before that moment, but he missed the first shot and Siauliai had to settle for a tie.

Vileita finished with 23 points to lead Siauliai, who also got 19 points from Kadziulis.

Graves scored 25 points for Galatasaray while Milojevic had 20 points and 12 rebounds.

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