Andorra celebrates Top 16 berth by routing Virtus
MoraBanc Andorra qualified for the Top 16 during its game on Wednesday night at Poliesportiu D'Andorra, but that did not stop the team from battling hard in the fourth quarter for a come-from-behind 93-79 victory over Segafredo Virtus Bologna. After losing a 15-point advantage to enter the fourth quarter down 3, Andorra went on a 17-3 tear to regain control and held on the rest of the way. The victory lifted Andorra's record to 5-3 while dropping Virtus to 6-2. First place in the group is in play for both teams. Frantz Massenat and Banja Sy scored 17 points apiece to lead the winners. David Jelinek added 16. Both Massenat and Jelinek shot 4 for 5 on three-pointers. Clevin Hannah tallied 9 points and a career-high and Andorra club record 13 assists, too. Milos Teodosic led Virtus with 19 points and 4 assists in 15 first-half minutes, but he did not play in the second half. Frank Gaines added 18 points and Julian Gamble scored 14 in defeat.
Sy took charge from the opening tip with 8 points - including a pair of three-pointers - as Andorra started the game on a 14-0 run. Coach Sasa Djordjevic summoned star guard Teodosic off the bench after 4 minutes and he finally assisted on the visitors' first basket: a bounce pass to Gamble for a slam. Even as Teodosic got Virtus going, Andorra continued to score almost at will. Sy's third triple of the quarter made it 22-7. Teodosoc tallied 8 points and 2 assists in a 1-13 tear that brought Virtus within 3. Jelinek free throws made it 27-22 after 10 minutes. It was deja vu all over again as Andorra got threes from Jelinek and Hannah in starting the second quarter with a 10-0 run. Stefan Markovic had a pair of assists in a 0-6 Virtus response to get to 37-28, but Massenat responded with a four-point play and a floater as the difference reached 15 again, 45-30. Markovic and Teodosic each sank threes in a 0-10 Virtus to get right back in it. Jelinek connected from downtown to revive the hosts, who took a 52-44 advantage into halftime.
Unlike the first half, Virtus started the third quarter strong to get within 55-50 on a Gaines drive. Strong play by Tyson Perez kept Andorra ahead; his steal and slam put the hosts up 62-53. Back-to-back threes by Gaines chopped the deficit to 3. A three by David Cournooh in the last minute of the third quarter tied it and another by Filippo Baldi Rossi gave Virtus its first leas, 66-69. Massenat answered with a three to start the fourth quarter and soon David Walker made another as Andorra regained the lead. Another Masenat triple capped an 11-2 run for a 77-71 cushion. Walker added free throws and Hannah made a tough layup to re-establish a double-digit advantage, 83-72, with 5 minutes remaining. Baskets on the offensive glass by Masenat and Sy lifted Andorra to 87-75 and the hosts coasted the rest of the way.
Frantz Massenat set personal bests by making 4 of 5 three-pointers and with a performance index rating of 25 for Andorra. He scored 17 points, grabbed 4 rebounds, collected 2 steals and delivered 1 assist, too. His quick hands and aggressive defense were all big reasons Andorra was able to capture this win.
Andorra feasted on points off turnovers and elite three-point shooting. Virtus committed 18 turnovers, with which - thanks to its 50% shooting on 32 three-point attempts, Andorra turned into 36 points! In contrast, Andorra made 13 turnovers, but only got 15 points from them.
Top 16 implications
Virtus was already through to the Top 16 before this game and Andorra joined it. Group A now has all four tickets to the Top 16 decided, but only one win separates the four teams and any of them can be first or last. Andorra narrowly missed the tiebreaker from this game, since it lost by 15 in Bologna in Round 3.
When the 7DAYS EuroCup springs back into action in two weeks, MoraBanc Andorra will be back at home to face Maccabi Rishon LeZion on Wednesday, December 11. Virtus is also at home for a date with co-Group A leader Promitheas Patras.
Wednesday, November 20, 2019