Can Rytas storm past Manresa and qualify?

The last round of the Basketball Champions League groups takes place this week. 7 of the 8 qualified teams are known, the only unknown one will be decided on Wednesday following the Rytas-Manresa duel, where Rytas will need to recover a deficit of 13 points.

Rytas occupies the 3rd place in the group, after 3 defeats, 2 with Bonn and away with Manresa and 2 victories with Bahcesehir. They recovered after the series of 4 defeats in a row, having 3 consecutive victories in all scoring at least 92 points. Marcus Foster with 20.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists is the team leader and the player to watch in this match. The Lithuanian champions signed a contract with 24-year-old forward Justin Gorham, who played for Hapoel Gilboa Galil this season and was the second-leading rebounder in the entire Israeli league but I don’t think he will be able to play on Wednesday.

Manresa, unlike last season, this year has a lot of problems. They don’t manage to tie a lot of good matches. In the last 3 matches, they lost against Barcelona and Bonn and won at home against Real Betis. In this group, they are in 2nd place, after 2 defeats with Bonn and 3 wins, 2 times with Bahcesehir and once with Rytas at home. Foster will have an opponent to match, Jerrick Harding who with 18.4 points is the Spanish leader in points. David Robinson’s transfer from Ulm can save their season; he has 15.6 points and 5.6 rebounds in 5 matches in the BCL for Manresa.

The match in Spain was won by Manresa 82-69 thanks to Robinson’s 18 points, Steinbergs 16 points and Harding’s 14 points. From Rytas, Foster had 25 points and 8 rebounds, the only one who was in double digits other than Foster was Fridriksson with 12 points.

It will be a match in which Rytas will try everything for a miraculous qualification, but Manresa seems like the kind of team that knows how to approach such matches and face the pressure.

Valentin Petruta

Photo credit: Basketball Champions League