VENTSPILS, Latvia – Despite missing two of their stars, Triumph have produced one of the most convincing victories seen in the BBL to date this season, defeating Ventspils 61-52 on Saturday afternoon.
Triumph entered Saturday's afternoon's cash with their backs up against the wall with their two American signings Tywain Mckee and Jerry Jefferson sitting out a one-game suspension imposed by the team management.
However Triumph rallied hard with Russian U19 stars Dmitry Kulagin and Sergey Karasev stepping up to the lead their team in style, assuring that their team never looked in any real threat of losing despite a desperate final quarter rally from Ventspils.
Kulagin was instrumental in the point guard role and despite only picking up seven points, he would play nearly the entire 40 minutes to provide eight assists whilst Karasev would collect a team-high 19 points after sitting out his team's loss to Siauliai on Thursday.
Ventspils only had themselves to blame with a woeful shooting display from the floor in the opening quarter automatically putting the heavily favored hosts on the back foot. On the back of some staunch defense inside the paint, Ventspils would make just three-of-15 from the field and Triumph would be ahead by six at the end of the opening quarter.
However the situation was only going to worsen for Ventspils before it was going to get better as they went two-for-14 in the second frame, allowing Triumph to cruise out to an unthinkable 19-point lead by the half.
In the second half Ventspils would begin to awaken from their slumber to put up the fight expected from the league's third-placed team but the margin would simply prove too big to overcome, even as they outscored their guests 20-12 in the fourth quarter.
Steven Gray ended the game as Ventspils' leading scorer with 12 points.
In the end Ventspils' shooting stats would read nine-of-41 two-pointers and six-of-25 three-pointers, something that will be a major talking point within the team in the coming week.
Triumph now improve their record to five wins and two losses whilst Ventspils drop to five and three.