Virtus shoots its way into quarterfinals
Segafredo Virtus Bologna made 15 three-pointers and set a new club scoring record en route to a 96-106 win in a do-or-die game against Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul on Thursday night at Stark Arena in Belgrade, Serbia. The victory improved Virtus's record to 4-2, clinching second place in Group E and a place in the quarterfinals where it will face AS Monaco. Darussafaka finished 3-3 and in third place in the group. Virtus took the lead for good in the opening minute of the game and went on to hit 8 of its first 9 three-point attempts to open a 21-point second-quarter margin. Darussafaka closed within 4 points on two occasions in the third quarter, but Virtus, led by Milos Teodosic, pulled away to a big lead again and secured the victory. Teodosic had 21 points and 6 assists, and Giampaolo Ricci finished with 17 points. Kyle Weems netted 15 points, while Alessandro Pajola and Julian Gamble scored 10 apiece for Virtus. For Darussafaka, Gary Browne led the way with 14 points and 11 assists. Doron Lamb and Bonzie Colson also scored 14 each, Johnathan Hamilton had 11 points, Sinan Guler tallied 10 points and 9 assists and Dogus Ozdemiroglu scored 10 in a losing effort.
Hamilton started things with a dunk for Darussafaka, but Virtus caught fire shooting the ball from the start. Devyn Marble and Ricci hit back-to-back from downtown before Gamble's three-point play opened a 2-9 lead. Jarrod Jones scored a triple for Darussafaka, but Weems and Stefan Markovic each hit one more for Virtus and extend the lead to 7-17. Browne answered with a triple on the other end, only for Teodosic's three-pointer to start another Virtus run which Frank Gaines capped with a triple-plus foul that made it 14-30 after 10 minutes. Virtus stretched the lead early in the second with a three from Filippo Baldi Rossi and a fastbreak dunk from Weems that made it 16-37 less than 3 minutes in the second quarter. Kartal Ozmizrak hit a much-needed triple for Darussafaka, but Teodosic had 5 points, including another downtown shot, to make it 23-44. But Ozdemiroglu scored 8 points, including back-to-back triples to cut it to 33-46, and - despite Teodosic knocking down his third triple, Darussafaka cut it to 40-52 at halftime.
Darussafaka's charge continued in the second half with a pair of baskets from Guler and a three-pointer from Browne to help cut it to 49-55. Berk Demir's three-pointer got Darussafaka within 56-60, but Gaines and Teodosic each hit one more long-range shot to give Virtus some breathing room and Marble's three-pointer helped it take a 68-79 lead into the fourth quarter. Back-to-back threes from Ricci, both assisted by Teodosic, helped extend the margin, before more passing magic from Teodosic to Ricci created a 72-94 lead with 5 and a half minutes left in the game. Lamb hit a triple and had a three-point play to give Darussafaka one last spark. Browne's back-to-back triples kept the hope alive and sparked a 13-2 run capped by a transition triple from Lamb to make it 89-98 with 2:10 to go. After a timeout, however, Pajola and Ricci took it to the rim for layups to seal the outcome.
This marked the first time Virtus scored 100 or more points in a EuroCup game and it could have hardly picked a better timing.
Virtus hit a season-low 4 triples in the first game between the two teams in Top 16 Round 2. In this game, Virtus had that many in just 4 and a half minutes to open the game. Virtus hit 8 of its first 9 three-point attempts and finished with 15-for-25, good for 60% which is another single-game club record.
Darussafaka committed just 2 turnovers in the middle two quarters, but at the end of the game had 10 turnovers to 14 committed by Virtus. On the other hand, Virtus had 28 assists, one shy of its club record, to Darussafaka's 21, and Virtus had a 32-25 rebounding advantage.
Virtus faces AS Monaco in the quarterfinals, with Monaco holding the homecourt advantage. The two teams already played twice in the regular season and Virtus swept the series. Meanwhile, this marks the end of the EuroCup journey for Darussafaka.
The game was rescheduled and played in Stark Arena in Belgrade due to the impossibility fo
Thursday, March 5, 2020