Unbeaten Tartu Rock Lappeenranta

07.01.2008

Brian Cusworth and Janar Talts each scored 20 points as surprising Tartu Rock won 102-94 at Lappeenranta in Finland on Monday to take complete command of Group A in the EuroCup Qualifying Round.

Entering the game with back-to-back victories over PAOK and CSK-VVS Samara, the Estonians were full of confidence and that was evident in the first quarter when they matched the Finnish outfit blow-for-blow.

They took the lead for good when George Tsintsadze connected from long range for a 15-13 Tartu advantage.

They would go on to lead by as many as 11 points in the first half, but Lappeenranta kept the game close and twice closed the gap to just one.

A three-ball by Tuukka Kulha trimmed the deficit to 47-46 with 31 seconds remaining in the first half, but Estonia international Tanel Tein replied with a shot from behind the arc seven seconds before half-time to extend the Tartu lead back to 50-46.

Tein then picked up his seventh assist of the evening when he passed to Talts, who buried a three-ball for the first points of the second half to extend the lead to 53-46. 

When Talts made a pair of free throws and Cusworth dunked with 7:18 to go in the third period, the lead was 59-48 for the visitors.

There was no way back for Lappeenranta.

A Cusworth jumper off another Tein assist - he finished with 11 on the night - gave the Estonians their biggest advantage at 82-65 early in the fourth quarter and they cruised to victory.

Cusworth, who played college basketball at Harvard, also had 10 rebounds while Talts pulled down nine.

Tartu shot 64.7% (22 of 34) inside the arc, and 11 of 24 (45.8%) beyond it. They out-rebounded the Finns 40-32.


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