Partizan beats Virtus to clinch first in Group E
Partizan NIS Belgrade fought back from a 15-point deficit to defeat Segafredo Virtus Bologna 82-84 and book its spot in the 7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinals. Corey Walden poured in 29 points for Partizan and Rashawn Thomas added 10. The visitors improved to 4-1 in Group E and locked up first place in the group after beating Virtus for the second time and handing it its first home loss in the competition. Milos Teodosic collected 24 points, 5 rebounds and 10 assists in the loss while Stefan Markovic had 17 points and Julian Gamble added 11 points and 6 rebounds. Virtus dropped to 3-2 in the group.
Both teams struggled offensively in the early going. Nikola Jankovic opened the scoring for the visitors after nearly 3 minutes of action. Teodosic drained a three-pointer directly at the other end and Kyle Weems's three-point play made it 6-4. A Filippo Baldi Rossi three helped increase the Virtus advantage to 14-8. Stefan Bircevic hit from the outside to get the gap down to 16-13. The hosts led 18-13 after 10 minutes. Markovic started the second quarter with a triple and Devyn Marble followed from the outside for a 24-15 Virtus lead. Partizan roared back with a three-point play and triple from Walden sandwiched around another Bircevic three-pointer to cut the deficit to 26-24. After a timeout, the hosts shut down Partizan’s offense and Giampaolo Ricci connected twice from long range in a 16-4 run over nearly 4 minutes for a 42-28 cushion. Walden came up with 5 points to trim the gap to 9 points but Teodosic drained a triple and Virtus was up 47-35 at the break.
After Walden opened the second half, Teodosic’s three-pointer increased the lead to 15 points, 52-37. Thomas responded with 6 points in a 0-9 Partizan answer to pull within 52-46. Ricci came up with a three-point play at the other end and Virtus led 59-48. Partizan would not go away with Uros Trifunovic nailing back-to-back three-pointers and Ognjen Jaramaz 3 free throws and a triple to help get the visitors within 65-63. David Cournooh gave the hosts some breathing room back with a three-pointer to make it 68-63 after 30 minutes. Walden opened the fourth quarter with free throws, but Virtus kept Partizan scoreless for more than 3 minutes and Markovic’s triple made it 73-65. Partizan did not give up and scored 6 straight points to close within 75-73. A Walden triple had the visitors within 79-78 and it was 82-78 after 2 Gamble free throws with 58 seconds left. Walden came up with a three-point play to make it a one-point game again and then Rade Zagorac stole the ball from Gamble and laid it in for an 82-83 lead with 18 seconds left. Teodosic’s three-pointer was off target and Walden grabbed the rebound and added the final point from the line with 1.9 seconds to play.
Corey Walden was unstoppable with 29 points on 9-of-14 shooting - including 3-of-4 from long range - and 8-of-10 free throws to go with 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and 7 fouls drawn for a performance index ranking of 33.
Gordic down with injury
Partizan’s inspirational reserve guard Nemanja Gordic played only 9:32 minutes as he went down with an ankle injury in the second quarter and did not return to the game.
Partizan forced Virtus into 19 turnovers and made 23-of-30 free throws compared to 20-of-24 for Virtus.
Virtus will finish Top 16 play with a showdown at Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul on Wednesday, March 4. Partizan’s final Top 16 game will be at home on the same day against Dolomitri Energia Trento.
Wednesday, February 5, 2020