Virtus clinches first place in comeback win
In one of the most unbelievable comebacks of the season, Virtus Segafredo Bologna rallied from an 18-point halftime deficit to down AS Monaco 68-74 at Stade Louis II in Group C on Wednesday. Virtus remained undefeated, improving to 8-0 in the standings and clinching first place in Group C. Monaco dropped to 5-3 but could qualify to the Top 16 in this round depending on other results. Monaco led 40-22 at halftime but Virtus got within 56-47 after 30 minutes and Kyle Weems gave the guests their first lead, 68-70, with 21.5 seconds left. Monaco did not score in crunch time while Milos Teodosic and Stefan Markovic sealed the outcome from the foul line. Julian Gamble led the winners with 15 points. Weems added 13 and Teodosic 12 for Virtus. Dee Bost led Monaco with 17 points. Marcos Knight added 13 and Mathias Lessort 10.
Lessort hit a layup, Jaleel O'Brien a triple Knight a jumper for a 7-0 Monaco start. Josh Adams scored first for Virtus and Amar Alibegovic exploded a huge put-back dunk before Bost struck twice from downtown to make it 13-6. Gamble dunked in traffic but Lessort and Knight boosted the lead to 17-8. Wilfried Yeguete and Amedeo Tessitori traded baskets, then Nikola Rebic and Abdoulaye Ndoye buried threes for a 25-10 Monaco lead after 10 minutes. Teodosic went coast-to-coast early in the second quarter but Yeguete matched it with a dunk off a steal. Teodosic kept pacing Virtus and Weems followed a jumper with a reverse layup but Darral Willis and Knight kept Monaco way ahead, 32-18. Vince Hunter answered with a dunk-and-free throw that Rebic matched from beyond the arc before O'Brien and Willis pushed the hosts to a 40-22 halftime lead. Giampaolo Ricci and Weems each scored down low to give Virtus hope at 40-26 right after the break. Knight and Bost answered from beyond the arc and Knight added a fallaway jumper but Gamble, Ricci and Awudu Abass got the guests even closer, 48-36. Bost and Rebic rescued Monaco, forcing Virtus to call timeout at 54-38, after which Ricci and Alessandro Pajola ignited a 0-7 run that Weems capped with a triple, bringing Virtus within 54-45. Bost and Hunter fixed the score at 56-47 after 30 minutes. Abass struck from downtown early in the fourth quarter and Pajola matched layups with Lessort for a 58-52 score. Bost hit a big triple but Gamble dunked and Teodosic added a three-point play to make it 62-57 with under 6 minutes left. O'Brien stepped up with a reverse layup for Monaco but dunks by Abass and Gamble kept Virtus within 66-61. Abass hit free throws and Teodosic buried a three-pointer that forged a 66-66 tie with 1:48 left. After Lessort hit free throws and Gamble dunked, Weems put back a miss to give Virtus its first lead, 68-70, with 21.5 seconds remaining. Monaco then turned the ball over, which allowed Teodosic and Markovic to seal the outcome from the foul line.
Weems did a little bit of everything to sustain the Virtus comeback and sealed it with the most critical shot in this game. He finished it with 13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals for a PIR of 14.
A 2-13 finishing run allowed Virtus to win the game. Abass hit free throws, Teodosic downed a three-pointer, Gamble dunked and Weems banked in a close jumper off a critical offensive rebound for a 68-70 lead. Teodosic and Markovic sealed the win from the foul line.
Virtus hit 8-of-25 field goal attempts (32.0%) in the first half, getting 4 assists and 9 turnovers. Everything changed in the second half, in which Virtus downed 18-of-28 shots (64.3%), adding 12 assists and just 5 turnovers.
Did you know?
Virtus remains undefeated against Monaco with four wins in as many games. Virtus previously beat Monaco 72-81 in Monaco on December 17, 2019, and twice in Bologna: 77-75 on October 20, 2019, and 94-85 on October 21, 2020, the latter earlier this season.
Both teams return to EuroCup action on Wednesday, December 16. Monaco visits Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar while a few hours later Virtus welcomes already-eliminated Telenet Antwerp Giants.
Wednesday, December 9, 2020