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Urbonas finally debuts in the ENBL, Šiauliai prevail at Valmiera




Šiauliai stormed out of the gates, scored 34 points in the first quarter and defeated Valmiera Glass ViA, 104-77, on Wednesday, December 27, at the Vidzeme Olympic center in northern Latvia.


Players of the game

Seven Šiauliai players finished in double figures.


Paulius Danusevičius led the visitors with 19 points on 8/10 shooting from the field, including a 2/3 effort from the three point line.


Forward grabbed eight rebounds and blocked one shot.


Nojus Mineiķis had 14 points on 4/6 shooting from the three point line.


LJ Thorpe (UNC Asheville 2022) rounded out the top 3 performances with 10 points and a game high nine assists.


Sean Seneca Knight shined for Valmiera.


A former Illinois State guard scored 25 points on 8/15 shooting from the field and 7/8 from the charity stripe.


Guntis Sīpoliņš contributed with 12 points and four rebounds.


Pauls Miglinieks scored 11 points, including 3/8 shooting from the deep.



Key stats

Šiauliai jumped in front for a 34-15 lead after first 10 minutes.


Paulius Danusevičius scored 15 points in less than nine minutes.


LJ Thorpe and Dachon Burke added more carnage for a 55-31 lead at the half.


Šiauliai shot 60% from the two points line, 44% from the three point line and 89% from the free throw line.


All ten players scored for the visitors.


Šiauliai went 13/29 from the deep, compared to 10/38 for Valmiera.



Game notes

Šiauliai improved to 3-1, while Valmiera dropped to 0-5.


Žydrūnas Urbonas took the coaching reins of KB Prishtina in the summer of 2023.


His first game in the ENBL was scheduled at...Uniclub Casino Juventus Utena.


The match never took place as the Kosovo club was excluded from the ENBL.


Three months later Urbonas returned to Lithuania to take over Šiauliai.


A 47 years old coach won a gold medal with Lithuania at the 1994 FIBA U18 European Championship in Israel.


It was the first title for the Lithuania national team since EuroBasket 1939.


Urbonas professional career included numerous stops in Lithuania, as well as Russia, Greece, Latvia, Cyprus and Ukraine.


In 2009, Urbonas became a player-coach and the team's president when he joined Juventus Utena, and then became the assistant coach when he retired in 2012.


He served as a coach under Rytis Vaišvyla, Vitoldas Masalskis, Virginijus Sirvydis and Antanas Sireika, who coached and mentored him back during his playing days in BC Šiauliai.


Urbonas jersey #8 has been retired by Juventus Utena.




ENBL access: follow the game on YouTube live stream




Format

Four best teams from each group will qualify for the playoffs (A1-B4, A2-B3, A3-B2, A4-B1).


The 2024 playoffs – home and away, best-of-two series – will take place from February 1 until March 20.


The 2024 Final Four will take place on April 9-10.



Standings, as of December 27, 2023

Group A

Uniclub Casino Juventus 4-0 (+59)

Tartu Ülikool Maks&Moorits 3-0 (+38)

Bristol Flyers 3-2 (+43)

Bakken Bears Aarhus 2-0 (+41)

Polski Cukier Start Lublin 1-2 (-12)

Landstede Hammers Zwolle 1-2 (-16)

Spartak Pleven 0-4 (-56)

Svendborg Rabbits 0-4 (-97)



Group B

CSO Voluntari 4-1 (+53)

Royal Liège Basket 3-1 (+35)

Zastal Zielona Gora 3-1 (+21)

Šiauliai 3-1 (+11)

Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles 2-2 (+12)

Keila Coolbet 2-2 (-7)

Basket Brno 0-4 (-41)

Valmiera Glass ViA 0-5 (-84)


Tie-breaker 1: Zielona Gora vs Šiauliai 1-0, +26.

Tie-breaker 2: Šiauliai vs Newcastle 1-0, +2.

Tie-breaker 3: Šiauliai vs Voluntari 1-0, +8.

Tie-breaker 4: Liège vs Zielona Gora 1-0, +23.



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