Teodosic's late heroics lift Virtus to 1-0
Virtus Segafredo Bologna took a decisive step toward the 7DAYS EuroCup Finals by downing UNICS Kazan 80-76 in Basket City in Game 1 of their best-of-three semifinals on Tuesday. The Italian powerhouse recorded its 20th consecutive win in the competition, matching the longest winning streak in EuroCup history - Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar won 20 consecutive games twice, the latest one in the 2017-18 campaign. Milos Teodosic led the winners with 27 points plus 5 assists and Marco Belinelli added 12 for Virtus. Jamar Smith led UNICS with 22 points, John Brown and John Holland each added 13 and Jordan Morgan had 11 for the visitors. Teodosic scored 9 first-quarter points and got help from Belinelli and Julian Gamble to give Virtus a 23-19 lead after 10 minutes. Brown but UNICS ahead, 31-32, but Belinelli and Amedeo Tessitori helped the hosts regain the lead, 44-36, at halftime. Virtus boosted its margin to 50-38, but Isaiah Canaan and Holland led UNICS to tie it again, 56-56, at the end of the third quarter. With the game tied at 64-64, Teodosic took over in crunch time with 11 points and a couple of assists in the final 6 minutes, making sure Virtus got a critical victory.
Giampaolo Ricci got Virtus going with a layup, but Jordan Theodore and Okaro White soon gave UNICS a 2-4 lead. Gamble scored twice around the basket and Kyle Weems dunked, igniting an 11-0 run in which Teodosic followed a triple with a driving layup for a 13-4 Virtus lead. Morgan and White stepped up for UNICS, but Teodosic kept the hosts in charge, 17-8. Smith struck three times from beyond the arc. However, Belinelli ignited Virtus's bench with a wild four-point play and got help from Vince Hunter for a 23-19 lead after 10 minutes. Brown downed a turnaround jumper early in the second quarter and Holland added a triple that completed UNICS's comeback, 23-24. Alessandro Pajola answered from downtown and followed Teodosic's jumper with a wild driving layup for a 30-28 Virtus edge. Brown kept pushing UNICS and Morgan dunked twice, but Belinelli followed a layup with a three-pointer. Tessitori and Teodosic each scored around the basket for a 40-36 Virtus lead. Stefan Markovic found his first points and Tessitori added a jump hook to boost the hosts' margin to 44-36 at halftime.
White buried an off-balance shot after the break, but Pajola and Ricci fueled a 6-0 run that made it a double-digit game, 50-38. Canaan answered from downtown and matched Tessitori's layup with a driving basket. Holland joined the three-point shootout and Brown's put-back slam bought UNICS even closer, 53-48. Morgan took over with a put-back basket and Smith scored off Holland's inbound steal, prompting Virtus to call timeout at 56-53. Holland buried a step-back triple to tie it at 56-56, after 30 minutes. Morgan used a three-point play to put UNICS ahead, 56-59, early in the fourth quarter. Vince Hunter dunked and Ricci improved on Brown's layup with a triple for a 61-61 tie. Holland answered from beyond the arc, but Hunter tied it again, 64-64, with less than 6 minutes to go. Teodosic banked in a running shot and fed Ricci for a floater, but Canaan and Brown caused the hosts to call timeout at 68-68. Teodosic found Hunter for a dunk, adding an up-and-under layup and a jumper for a 74-68 Virtus edge in the next-to-last minute. Smith made free throws, hit a jumper and erased Teodosic's triple with his own shot from downtown for a 78-75 score. Brown split foul shots and UNICS fouled Teodosic with 26.6 seconds left. He hit both attempts and UNICS could not score on its final possession.
Milos Teodosic had one of the best games in his EuroCup career and made the difference in crunch time. He finished the game with 27 points, one shy of his personal-best, plus 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal and 10 fouls drawn for a PIR of 34 - a new career-high.
With the game tied at 64-64, Milos Teodosic scored or assisted on Virtus's next 10 points. He banked in a running shot in the lane, found Giampaolo Ricci for a layup, sent a sensational bounce pass to Vince Hunter for a slam, scored in the low post and sank a six-meter jumper. All of a sudden, Virtus led 74-68 and Teodosic had made the difference in the game.
Virtus dished 18 assists and UNICS only managed 11. Virtus made 24 of 36 two-point shots (66.7%). UNICS converted 16 of 28 shots inside the arc (57.1%).
Did you know?
With another win, Virtus would become the first Italian team to reach the EuroCup Finals. It is the fourth Italian team to reach the semifinals. All three Italian teams that have reached the semifinals - Benetton Treviso in 2011, Dolomiti Energia Trento in 2016 and Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia in 2018 - did not get past this stage.
Both teams faced each other in Game 2 of this best-of-three series at Basket Hall Kazan on Friday, April 9.
Tuesday, April 6, 2021