Gamble inspires Virtus, eliminates Trento
Segafredo Virtus Bologna dominated Dolomiti Energia Trento to claim a 94-70 victory in Group E’s Italian derby. The first half was closely contested until Virtus surged to a double-digit lead in the last 2 minutes and the hosts never looked back as the lead steadily grew in the second half. Julian Gamble shined with 21 points and 11 rebounds and Vince Hunter also impressed inside with13 points. Milos Teodosic combined 14 points with 7 assists, Stefan Markovic had 9 points and 7 assists, and Giampaolo Ricci scored 11 points. Trento had five scorers in double digits led by Alessandro Gentile with 16 – all in the first half. Aaron Craft scored 12, Justin Knox and Rashard Kelly both had 11, and James Blackmon scored 10. The result left Virtus tied for first place at 3-1, while Trento fell to 0-4 and was eliminated from quarterfinal contention.
Markovic opened the scoring from three-point range and further deeps strikes from Teodosic and Kyle Weems made it 10-4. Two inside scores from Gentile kept the visiting team in touch and he soon added two more baskets to tie the game at 12-12. Weems and Gamble got Virtus moving again, but Kelly’s three-point play kept it close and Blackmon’s triple forced another tie. Three-pointers from Teodosic and Blackmon made it 21-21 after 10 minutes before a triple by Gentile gave Trento its first lead. Alessandro Pajola’s three-point play soon ended that, and a pair of close-range scores from Gamble kept the hosts ahead. Knox dunked hard, but Markovic struck from deep and Gamble dunked harder for a 39-34 lead. Gentile missed three free throws, but nailed a mid-range jumper, and Craft’s driving layup made it 41-38. Gamble and Gentile scored again before a pair of identical corner threes from Ricci made it 52-40 at halftime.
That lead grew steadily after the break, first with 6 quick points from Gamble. Then Knox and Markovic traded triples before Hunter took over, throwing down a pair of dunks and producing a behind-the-back assist for another Ricci triple. Craft scored twice for Trento, but the home team continued to pile on the points with Hunter sinking a triple before Devyn Marble beat the buzzer from close range to finish the third quarter 82-55. Former Trento man Marble scored from deep early in the fourth, before Kelly narrowed the gap with a trio of scores. Marcos Delia’s dunk and David Cournooh’s three-pointer made it 92-64. The scoring slowed after that as Virtus cruised home.
Virtus lights it up from deep
Virtus was hot from long-range in the opening stages, scoring its first three field goals from beyond the arc. The home team maintained a similar pace, ending the game with 12-of-21 three-point shooting (57.1%). Trento, in contrast, missed its first 4 three-point attempts, didn’t score a triple until James Blackmon netted with 1:20 remaining in the first quarter, and ended just 5-of-23 on three-point shots (21.7%).
Assists record for host
Another key to Virtus’s success was its ability to share the ball, setting a new club record with 29 assists. Milos Teodosic and Stefan Markovic led the way with 7 apiece, while 20 year-old Alessandro Pajola dished 6.
Two players were sensational in the first half: Virtus’s Julian Gamble reached a double-double before the break with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Trento’s Alessandro Gentile combined 16 points with 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 blocked shot. Gamble sat out most of the second half with the game already won and Gentile did not score after the break.
Round 5 will see Virtus host a big battle with group co-leader Partizan NIS Belgrade, while Trento welcomes Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020