Virtus outlasts Antwerp to stay perfect
Top 16-bound Virtus Segafredo Bologna remained the only undefeated team in the 7DAYS EuroCup by adding a 92-73 home win on Wednesday against already-eliminated Telenet Giants Antwerp. The victory lifted Virtus to 9-0 with one game pending in Regular Season Group C, while Antwerp dropped to 1-9. Amar Alibegovic led the winners with 16 points and 6 rebounds, Kyle Weems added 14 and Awudu Abass and Josh Adams had 11 points apiece. For Antwerp, Vrenz Bleijenbergh and Ibrahima Faye scored 14 points each, Vincent Kesteloot posted 13 and David Dudzinski had 12.
Giampaolo Ricci's three-pointer launched Virtus to a 7-1 lead, but the guests managed to rally and stay close until Stephaun Branch went for the steal and slam to make it 13-12 midway through the first quarter. With 7 turnovers for Virtus and 6 for Antwerp in minute 7, the score struggled to climb. Milos Teodosic stepped on court then to give Virtus some more offense smoothness as the lead climbed to 26-21 after Amar Alibegovic's put-back. A beautiful assist from Teodosic to Awudu Abass for three made it 31-23 early in the second quarter. Bleijenbergh and David Dudzinski nailed threes to keep Antwerp in the mix, but Adams replied swiftly to keep the hosts ahead 40-29 and steadily running away. In the final stretch of the first half, Virtus soared on a 12-0 run that made it 57-38 at halftime. Amedeo Tessitori and Faye traded nifty moves in the paint to launch the second half, as Antwerp's busier defense let their offense run a tad better, getting within 66-53 after Dennis Donkor's three. The same difference stood after 30 minutes, 73-59. In the last period, Alibegovic lifted Virtus anew as the hosts built a solid lead again. Free throws by Abass made it a 20-point game, 87-67, and that sealed the outcome, letting the hosts give young forward Lapo Galli his EuroCup debut in the last 2 minutes. Virtus keeps at its quest to end the regular season undefeated, with one game pending scheduled for December 22.
Did you know?
Virtus is 9-0 and is the only undefeated team remaining in the competition. If the team manages to win its last game, rescheduled for December 22 against MoraBanc Andorra, which just booked a Top 16 ticket this week, it will be the first time ever for the club to finish the regular season with no losses.
For the second time this season, Virtus managed to dish more than 30 assists in a game. On October 21, the Black V dished 32 against AS Monaco, and now it had 31 against Antwerp, 19 of them in the first half. Veteran playmakers Stefan Markovic and Milos Teodosic combined for 15 of them. Only one other team, Bahcesehir Koleji Istanbul, managed to reach the 30 assists in a game this season.
Welcome to the big stage, Lapo
With 1 minute and 39 seconds to go in the game, Kyle Weems sealed a good performance with a three-point play that lifted him to 14 points. He went to the bench and was substituted by 17-year-old Lapo Galli, who was making his 7DAYS EuroCup debut. Galli is one of the finer prospects to come out from the youth teams of Virtus and even if he could not score in his debut despite trying a three, it will hopefully be the first step in a long European career. Welcome Lapo!
Wednesday, December 16, 2020