Virtus survives Trento's late rally
Segafredo Virtus Bologna grabbed a valuable Top 16 Group E win by downing Dolomiti Energia Trento 67-73 on the road at BLM Group Arena on Tuesday. The visitors amassed and early 10-26 lead and dominated for the first 30 minutes, but a late rally led by Toto Forray put the hosts in front 61-57 with 5 minutes remaining. Milos Teodosic took charge then with 7 points in a 4-16 final run that sealed the win for the visitors. Virtus improved to 2-1 while Trento suffered its third loss in a row to remain winless. Teodosic led the winners with 23 points and 5 assists. Julian Gamble followed him with 13 points and 11 rebounds for a PIR of 28, while Vince Hunter scored 11 for Virtus. Forray matched his career-high with 24 points for the losers.
Virtus didn't need more than a couple of minutes to take off on inside buckets by Julian Gamble, a three-pointer by Stefan Markovic and a layup by Giampaolo Ricci that made it 0-9 soon after tipoff. Trento was unable to connect on offense, as even though Fabio Mian and Forray each hit from downtown, several turnovers allowed Virtus to find easy baskets in transition. Back-to-back triples by Teodosic made it 6-19 midway through the first quarter. Aaron Craft tried to reactivate Trento, but the visitors' second-unit retained a 13-26 lead after 10 minutes. James Blackmon awakened Trento with 5 points early in the second quarter. Forray kept the fire burning to bring Trento within 30-35 entering the last minute before free throws by Markovic helped Virtus reach halftime in charge, 30-39. Forray and Mian kept pushing the hosts hard after the break, combining on 8 points that trimmed the difference to 40-44. Virtus resisted by increasing its defensive effort, but was unable to find good shots of its own. Free throws by Hunter an acrobatic layup by Teodosic kept Virtus ahead 42-50, but Blackmon responded quickly from behind the arc. Hunter raised the Virtus lead but Andrea Mezzanote responded for Trento from deep for a 48-54 score through three quarters. Craft hit Rashard Kelly with 2 assists and Forray dropped a nice floater to complete Trento's comeback to at 54-54 with 7 minutes remaining. Forray's 3 free throws soon capped a 12-0 run with Trento ahead 57-54, but Teodosic responded with a game-tying triple, ending his team's four-minute scoring drought. Forray and Teodosic continued challenging each other on offense until Gamble dunked to make it 63-65 entering the last 2 minutes. Teodosic continued shining with 4 straight points to give Virtus a 65-69 edge. A highlight alley-oop dunk by Hunter and a fastbreak layup by Markovic sealed the outcome for the visitors.
Teodosic, once again
These two had rivals just met at the same venue on the first Sunday of January, when Virtus took a 77-83 road win in the Italian League. Milos Teodosic starred with 30 points that time, and on Tuesday he was the executioner again, scoring 23 and hitting crucial shots in the last quarter.
27 minutes without a triple
Virtus started the game at full-throttle, building a solid 10-26 lead on 4-for-6 three-point shooting. Alessandro Pajola hit the fourth of those with 2 minutes and 54 seconds remaining in the first quarter. For long after that, however, Virtus missed on every three-point try until Teodosic connected with 6:08 to go in the last period. A total of 27 minutes had passed and Virtus had missed 14 triples between the ones made by Pajola and Teodosic.
Did you notice?
This was Trento's first loss against an Italian team in the 7DAYS EuroCup. They had beaten Reggio Emilia and AX Armani Exchange Milan twice each back in the 2015-2016 season, when Trento made it to the semifinals.
Both teams will face each other again in another all-Italian clash next week, but this time at the Paladozza, Bologna, on Wednesday, January 29.
Tuesday, January 21, 2020