Virtus beats Rishon, stays undefeated
Segafredo Virtus Bologna remained undefeated in Group A by topping Maccabi Rishon LeZion 96-77 at home on Wednesday. Virtus improved to 2-0 and is one of two undefeated teams in Group A along with AS Monaco. Rishon dropped to 0-2. Frank Gaines led the winners with 21 points. Stefan Markovic added 15, Giampaolo Ricci and Milos Teodosic each had 11 while Alessandro Pajola got 10 for Virtus. Ricci added 10 rebounds for a double-double. Alex Hamilton led Virtus with 18 points. Jordan Swing added 17, Darryl Monroe 14 and Adam Ariel 12. Gaines shined early, getting help from Stefan Markovic and Filippo Baldi Rossi to give Virtus a 24-18 lead after 10 minutes. Virtus boosted its margin to 32-20 right after that but Swing and Hunter brought Rishon within 45-40 at halftime. Three-pointers by Swing, Hamilton and Ariel gave the guests a 50-52 lead after the break, but Markovic stepped up for Virtus, allowing the hosts to restore a double-digit margin, 71-59, after 30 minutes. Nothing changed after that, as Virtus cruised to a well-deserved win.
Gaines struck from downtown early, but so did Hamilton and Swing for a 4-7 Rishon lead. Gaines sank two more shots from beyond the arc in a 7-0 run that put Virtus in charge. Jonathan Wiliams dunked but easy baskets by Markovic and Hunter made Rishon call timeout at 15-9. Ricci stepped up with back-to-back layups and Baldi Rossi added a triple, but Hamilton and Williams kept Rishon within 24-18 after 10 minutes. Teodosic - his first points in the EuroCup since March 20, 2007 - and Baldo Rossi each hit one from downtown to make it a double-digit game, 32-20. Monroe tried to change things with consecutive baskets and Swing added a triple and a tip-in to bring Rishon a bit closer, 34-29. Swing and Monroe kept pacing Rishon but Gaines, Hunter and Ricci kept the hosts ahead, 45-40, at halftime. Swing insisted from beyond the arc after the break and an unstoppable Hamilton completed the guests' comeback, 48-49. Ariel joined the three-point shootout but Ricci and Markovic fueled a 10-0 run that restored a 60-52 Virtus margin. Pajola downed a triple and a red-hot Markovic added two more to give the hosts a 71-59 margin after 30 minutes. Ariel sank his second three-pointer early in the fourth quarter but Teodosic and Gaines kept Virtus way ahead, 76-62, with 8 minutes left. Nothing really changed after that as even when Rishon kept trying, Virtus managed to keep a safe lead until the final buzzer.
Frank Gaines started the game on fire and did not stop throughout the game. He hit three bombs from downtown in the opening 5 minutes, and finished the game as Virtus's top scorer. Gaines had 21 points, adding 4 rebounds and 2 assists.
A three-pointer by Adam Ariel gave Rishon its last lead of the game, 50-52. Then Stefan Markovic struck three times from downtown and scored 11 points in 5 minutes, leading a 21-6 run which put Virtus way ahead, 71-58, at the end of the third quarter. Markovic proved to play a leading role for the hosts.
Markovic became the first player to reach 500 assists in 7DAYS EuroCup history. He entered the game with 499 assists and didn't need much time to set the milestone, finding Gaines for a three-point shot with 06:30 left in the first quarter. Markovic leads the all-time standings by a wide margin. He ranks first with 503 and Dmitry Khvostov is second at 404.
Did you notice?
It is just Virtus's second EuroCup home win - ever! Virtus is in its second EuroCup season. In its first time around, in the 2003-04 ULEB Cup, Virtus did not go past the regular season and only won once at home, downing Telekom Bonn 98-73 behind 29 points from Charles Smith.
Virtus hosts MoraBanc Andorra on Tuesday, October 15 at 20:30 CET. A day later, on Wednesday, October 16, Rishon hosts AS Monaco at 18:30 CET.
Wednesday, October 9, 2019