VILNIUS (Lithuania) - After taking down EWE Baskets Oldenburg 71-69, Rytas Vilnius have ensured that their season will continue past group play, as they have at least clinched a spot in the Play-In round.
Rytas can still even win Group H which would then book their spot in the Round of 16.
Turning point: Rytas got out to their biggest lead of 12 points a few minutes into the third quarter, but Oldenburg didn't let the game get away from them, as they got to within two points in the quarter.
Oldenburg continued to trail in the fourth quarter, but for the most part, kept the game within single digits.
Then with less than one minute left, things got crazy, as Oldenburg stole the ball twice and turned those two turnovers into baskets, extending their scoring run to 8-0 and cutting their deficit to 69-70.
Rytas' Vaidas Kariniauskas made 1-of-2 free-throws and left the door open for Oldenburg, but a potential game-winning three was missed by Cameron Clark at the buzzer.
Game heroes: Gytis Radzevicius double-doubled with 13 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks.
Radzevicius shot 5-of-9 from the field and finished with a game-high efficiency rating of 23.
Maurice Ndour finished with 15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks and shot 6-of-13 from the field.
Rytas held a slight advantage in total rebounds (36-33) as well as a 16-10 advantage in assists.
Rytas got several more opportunities from the free-throw line, shooting 16-of-21, while Oldenburg only shot 5-of-9.
The two teams struggled from three-point, only combining for seven made threes (Rytas 5, Oldenburg 2) and Kariniauskas knocked down three of them for Rytas.
Bottom line: Tai Odiase led the way for Oldenburg with 19 points and 6 rebounds, while Phil Pressey finished with 10 points and 6 steals, including the two key steals down the stretch.
Rytas are now 3-2 and sit in first place for now (due to the extra participation point) in Group H until Hereda San Pablo Burgos play their game tomorrow.
The Lithuanian club will travel to face Hereda San Pablo Burgos in their last group play game on December 21 which could determine the group winner.
They said: "It's very important [fan support]," said Radzevicius. "It's a big pleasure to play in this atmosphere and a big thank you to our fans because of the amazing atmosphere."
Ndour then spoke about what the key factors were in the win.
"I think defense. Defense and sacrifice," he said. "We knew it was a game that we had to win. I give credit to the coaches cause we were well prepared for this game and even though in the third quarter the team almost came back, we were able to get the lead back and still stay solid."