The loss left Zalgiris at 6-8, in sixth-place in Group B and in need of help to qualify for Euroleague's Top 16 as the wildcard (best sixth-place team) entry. Help arrived and when the final math was done for point differential, Zalgiris and Cota won the tiebreaker among sixth-place finishers to advance for at least six more Euroleague games.
Cota ended the regular season leading the league in assists at 5.6 per game. In addition, Cota averaged 36 minutes, 4 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 13.4 points. He connected on 13-of-30 (43.3%) threes, went 57-for-106 (53.7%) on two-point FGs and shot 71.4% (35-49) from the free-throw line.
Cota also leads the Lithuanian League in assists through 27 games (26-1, first-place) and will be in the Lithuanian all-star game on Saturday as a starter for the foreign team.
TV WORK TAKES DOHERTY BACK TO KANSAS
* Along with his work as an analyst for College Sports Television and providing a weekly article for www.cstv.com, Matt Doherty has also been covering games for ESPN Regional television. On Saturday, that job took Doherty back to Lawrence, Kansas, where he was an assistant coach under Roy Williams from 1992 until he left for Notre Dame in 1999.
Doherty said going from coaching at North Carolina to commentating on basketball games has greatly reduced the stress in his life. "My biggest concern now is where I'm going to get some dinner after the game," he told the Lawrence Journal-World prior to his weekend assignment as a TV analyst for the Kansas-Iowa State game on ESPN Regional.
Coaching is still his occupation of choice though, he said. "I feel I've got a little work left, something to prove. I think I'll be a better coach given the experiences I've had the last four years.
"I'd like to be in a situation to have a reasonable chance to be successful and in a community my family will enjoy living in," noted Doherty while adding that he has not had any contact about the St. John's coaching situation.
Doherty got to see a good game on his trip to Big 12 country. The Jayhawks (17-6, 9-3) held on for a 90-89 overtime win over Iowa State (14-9, 5-7).
RODL RECOVERS, REJOINS BERLIN
* Henrik Rodl, out of action and rehabbing since last May after suffering a broken shin bone, is back with ALBA Berlin (Germany - BBL) for the remainder of the season. In a press release, ALBA Berlin vice-president Marco Baldi said, "The return of Henrik Rodl makes us all very lucky because we absolutely wanted him back on the team. He worked with great effort on his comeback, the signing of the contract today was a pure formality."
Following a nine-month rehab and getting medical approval on his injured leg, Rodl stated, "My goal from the outset was to become completely healthy and to still play for ALBA. My dream has been fulfilled. I look forward to each minute that it can contnue."
During his rehab period, Rodl worked as a scout for the German national team and turned down an offer to begin a coaching career hoping that he could overcome his injury to once again be the captain of ALBA Berlin. This is Rodl's 11th season playing in Berlin, Germany.