Virtus finishes Top 16 undefeated
Virtus Segafredo Bologna finished the Top 16 in undefeated fashion as it rolled past JL Bourg en Bresse 83-62 at home. Julian Gamble led the way with 15 points for Virtus, which had already locked up first place in Group G coming into the game. Awudu Abass, Josh Adams and Amar Alibegovic all chipped in 12 points in the victory, which set up a quarterfinals date with Joventut Badalona. Bourg made things interesting with a late third-quarter run, but failed to pick up a Top 16 win in its debut on the European stage, finishing at 0-6. Danilo Andjusic was Bourg’s top scorer with 17 points, Thomas Scrubb had 14 points and Alen Omic tallied 10 points and 6 rebounds.
Gamble opened the scoring for the hosts and Andjusic answered at the other end with Bourg’s first 5 points. The Virtus offense was cruising with two more Gamble scores as the lead was double digits after just more than 5 minutes 15-5. Pierre Pelos managed a three-pointer for Bourg, but Alibegovic and Adams both hit from deep in pushing the advantage to 25-8. The hosts were up 25-12 after 10 minutes. Alibegovic added the first 5 points of the second quarter to increase the margin to 30-12. Scrubb and Pelos hit three-pointers to help get the deficit to 34-20 and a 0-7 spurt got the guests within 39-29. Virtus's defense stepped things up though and held Bourg scoreless for the final 4 minutes. Gamble had 5 points in a 9-0 close to the quarter for a 48-29 lead at the break.
Hugo Benitez got the scoring going in the second half for the visitors, but Virtus did not let up with the next 7 points - including an Abass triple - for a 55-31 cushion. After a Marco Belinelli three-point play made it 58-33, Scrubb and Maxime Courby drained back-to-back three-pointers to start a 4-18 surge over the final 6 minutes to pull within 62-51 after 30 minutes. The Bourg run continued early in the final frame with Vuk Vucevic hitting a three-pointer to start the quarter and pull within 62-54. Virtus worked hard on defense and kept Bourg scoreless for more than 2 minutes. Kyle Weems's triple made it 69-54. Weems added 4 more points and Adams hit from deep in a 9-0 surge to go up 78-56 and end any dreams of a comeback. Bourg did not get closer than 18 points the rest of the way.
Top 10 game in assists for Virtus
Virtus dished out 28 assists in the game, tying it for sixth-most in a EuroCup game for the club. The club’s all-time best was 32 assists against AS Monaco in October 2020.
Omic second place in defensive rebounds
Alen Omic missed the first five games of the Top 16, but came back in time to jump into second place on the all-time charts in defensive rebounds. In his 99th game, Omic passed Vladimir Vermeenko, who had 396. Omic now has 399 defensive rebounds. First place on the list belongs to Bojan Dubljevic with 417 defensive rebounds in 119 games.
Time for youngsters
Bourg knew it was eliminated and gave time to its youngsters. In addition to 20-year-old Hugo Benitez amassing 2 points, 2 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals in nearly 25 minutes, 18-year-old Vuk Vucevic scored his first EuroCup points with 3 points to go with 2 rebounds and 1 steal in 13 minutes.
Virtus shot 65.7% on two-pointers while holding Bourg to just 48.1% from close range and 22.6% on three-pointers. Virtus also had a 26-16 advantage in points off turnovers.
Tuesday, March 9, 2021