Gran Canaria shines in blowout of Virtus
Herbalife Gran Canaria collected its second straight big victory in Group B of the 7DAYS EuroCup when it knocked off Virtus Segafredo Bologna 100-80 at home on Wednesday. Gran Canaria gained control of the game with a 16-4 run in the fourth quarter to follow up its win last week at Buducnost VOLI Podgorica. The result snapped Virtus’s three-game winning streak. Dylan Ennis poured in 17 points to pace five scorers in double figures for Gran Canaria, which has won six of its last seven games and is tied for the top spot in Group B with a 6-2 record. AJ Slaughter scored 16 points and dished 9 assists, Chris Kramer and John Shurna both scored 14 points and Miquel Salvo chipped in 10 points in the winning effort. Virtus dropped to 5-3 despite Kyle Weems scoring 17 points. Marco Belinelli added 16 points, Milos Teodosic tallied 15 points and 13 assists, Alessandro Pajola scored 11 and Mam Jaiteh 10 points. It was the second time in the last three games that Virtus gave up 100 points, having beaten Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana 101-104 on the road in Round 6.
Pajola’s three-pointer started the game for Virtus with Kramer converting a layup at the other end. Teosodic followed with a three-pointer and layup of his own and the visitors grabbed a 2-10 lead early on. Shurna drained back-to-back three-pointers and Slaughter’s triple knotted the game 13-13. Amar Alibegovic connected twice from deep as well for Virtus, which led 21-24. The hosts scored the final 5 points of the first quarter including a third Shurna triple to make it 26-24 after 10 minutes.
Weems started the second quarter with a layup to even the game again. Gran Canaria got defensive stops, allowing just 3 Virtus free throws, and Salvo provided a major boost with a three-point play and triple in a 13-3 run to move ahead 39-29. Pajola finally scored Virtus’s first basket in more than 5 minutes with a three-pointer and Teodosic added a layup in a 0-7 spurt to pull within 39-36. Teodosic connected from deep again and Weems evened the game at 45-45. Ennis raced in for a layup to give Gran Canaria a 47-45 lead at the break.
Virtus scored the first 4 points of the second half to reclaim the lead only to see Kramer drain a triple and put Gran Canaria up 50-49. Another wave of three-pointers came, Teodosic and Pajola for the visitors and Nicolas Brussino, Slaughter and Shurna for Gran Canaria for a 62-57 lead. Belinelli joined the three-point party with back-to-back triples as Virtus went up 62-65. The back and forth continued and Gran Canaria closed the third quarter with the final 9 points, including a steal and dunk by Ennis and a triple from Slaughter for a 71-65 cushion after 30 minutes.
The barrage from long range continued to start the final frame with Weems and Ennis connecting on triples and Salvo’s hook shot extending the cushion to 78-68 with less than 8 minutes to play. Ennis’s triple had Gran Canaria up 87-72 with 5 minutes remaining. Belinelli was not done and made back-to-back triples to bring Virtus within 87-78. But Gran Canaria could not be stopped and after an Ennis three-pointer and layup, the margin was 97-80 with under 3 minutes left and the hosts cruised the rest of the way.
Slaughter leads the way
Dylan Ennis led Gran Canaria in scoring with 17 points, but the biggest factor in the win was AJ Slaughter. Not only did the veteran secure 16 points in the game - making 3 three-pointers and shooting 5-of-10 from the field and 3-of-5 from the foul line, but Slaughter also added 1 rebound, 9 assists, 3 steals and 6 fouls drawn for a performance index rating of 26. Slaughter’s 9 assists were one off his EuroCup career-high. And he didn’t commit a single turnover in more than 33 minutes of action.
Virtus star Teodosic climbs list despite loss
Virtus Segafredo Bologna point guard Milos Teodosic set a new EuroCup personal best in assists. In addition to his 15 points, Teodosic dished out 13 assists to top the 12 assists he had in March 2021 against Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana in March 2021. But it wasn’t a career-high for Teodosic, who collected 14 assists in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague for CSKA Moscow against Unicaja Malaga in January 2015. Teodosic also climbed the all-time assists leaderboard in the EuroCup. He now has 319 assists and during the game jumped past Justin Cobbs and Omar Cook (309), Jamar Smith (311) and Yotam Halperin (316) into 11th place. Marko Popovic is 10th overall with 331 assists.
By the Numbers: Gran Canaria shuts down Virtus
Gran Canaria shut down the number one offense in the EuroCup; Virtus had been averaging 93.0 points a game and was second-best in two-point accuracy at 60.0%. On Wednesday, Virtus only scored 80 points and connected on 45.2% of its two-pointers. Gran Canaria’s 25 assists were tied for sixth all-time for the club in EuroCup history. The home side forced 18 turnovers and only committed 9 turnovers. That gave Gran Canaria a 30-7 advantage in points off turnovers. Both teams grabbed 9 offensive rebounds, but Gran Canaria scored 16 second-chance points, which were four times the number Virtus had.
Wednesday, December 22, 2021