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Yellow Devils against the home favorites: Šiauliai vs Bakken Bears preview

Updated: Apr 9

Šiauliai (8-1) will face Bakken Bears (7-2) in the second semifinal on Tuesday, April 9, at the Sparekassen Danmark Basketball center in Aarhus, Denmark. Tipoff at 19:00.

Quick facts: Šiauliai finished first in the Group B with a 6-1 record. Žydrūnas Urbonas men won the playoff series against the Bristol Flyers, 174-155, and advanced to their second Final Four.

Bakken Bears finished second in the Group A with a 5-2 record. Anders Sommer`s men won the playoff series against the Newcastle Eagles, 188-179, and advanced to their first ENBL Final Four.

Series history: Šiauliai will face Bakken Bears for the first time in European competitions.

What`s at stake

Šiauliai may advance to their second ENBL title game – the first one was in 2022.

Bakken Bears may advance to their first ENBL title game and their first European final.

Key matchup: point guards

Leonard Junior Thorpe averages 14.0 points, 4.6 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists for Šiauliai.

Darko Jukič averages 10.6 points, 5.3 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists for Bakken Bears.

Player statistics

Paulius Danusevicius has 13.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists for Šiauliai.

Tomaš Pavelka is a top rebounder with 5.7 rebounds and 9.0 boards.

Thorpe shoots 47.6% from the three point line.

Nojus Mineikis is another sharpshooter – he went 19/46 from the three point line.

Shaquille Keith provides even more firepower with 13.0 points.

Another wing player – Bennett Vander Plas – has 2.3 steals per game.

Lineup features three ENBL finalists.

Eimantas Stankevičius represents Šiauliai from 2019.

Daniel Baslyk joined team in 2020 and Paulius Danusevičius in 2021.

The main rotation of Bears features nine players.

The glorious nine have averaged from 19.2 to 28.6 minutes per game.

What`s even more amazing, eight of them have averaged 8.6 or more points.

Ball sharing is an art and the Bears excel in it.

Four Bears have 3.0 or more assists per game – Darko Jukič has 5.3 dimes, followed by Skyler Bowlin (4.4), Noah Sorensen (4.3) and Ryan Evans (3.0).

A trio of Pinckney, Knudsen and Evans average 21.1 rebounds per game.

Every Bear has a shooting touch and may strike from the deep.

Skyler Bowlin average two three pointers per game for a 18/51 total or 35.3%.

Team statistics

Šiauliai is the highest scoring team in the ENBL.

With 92.4 points per game they are ahead of Liège Basket (89.6), Bakken Bears (88.6) and CSO Voluntari (84.9).

Šiauliai are first in steals, with 8.4 per game.

Bakken Bears are second with 8.2 steals, followed by Voluntari (7.3) and Liège Basket (6.3).

Bakken Bears lead all Final 4 teams in assists per game – with 21.8 dimes on average.

Liège Basket are second with 21.4 assists, followed by CSO Voluntari (19.1) and Šiauliai (18.4).

Aarhus players are first in defensive rebounds per game – with 28.2 boards on average.

Liège Basket have 26.6 defensive rebounds, Šiauliai 23.6 and CSO Voluntari – 23.4.

The Bears are the best finishers inside the three point line – with 26.1 two point field goals made.

Šiauliai are second with 24.7 field goals, in front of Liège Basket (23.3) and CSO Voluntari (20.9).

Head coaches

Žydrūnas Urbonas was a professional player until 2012 – he has played in Lithuania, Russia, Greece, Latvia and Cyprus. He finished his career with Juventus Utena (2009-2012) and stayed in the town until 2022. Urbonas worked as an assistant coach (2012-2017) and then as a head coach. After a brief stint with KB Sigal Prishtina he took the coaching reins of Šiauliai. Juventus won the bronze medal in the LKL (2015), bronze in the Baltic Basketball league (2015) and third place in the King Mindaugas Cup (2017). Urbonas won two LKL bronze medals as a Šiauliai player.

Anders Sommer has won seven titles with the Bakken Bears, including four Danish championships (2020-2023) and three Danish Cups (2020-2021, 2023). Sommer joined the Aarhus club in November 2019 and served as an assistant coach until June 2021. He won the 2013 European Championship for U16 Men in division B as an assistant coach for Denmark.

SCHEDULE (local time only)

Tuesday, April 9

16:00 Liège Basket – CSO Voluntari

19:00 Šiauliai – Bakken Bears

Wednesday, April 10

16:00 Bronze medal game

Live stats TBA

19:00 Final

Live stats TBA

21:00 Award ceremony

Final Four history

Wloclawek 2022: Anwil Wloclawek, Šiauliai, Basket Brno, Tartu University

Ostrów Wielkopolski 2023: BM Stal Ostrów, BC Wolves, Start Lublin, King Szczecin

Final Four referees


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