Virtus continues streak with victory at Bourg
Virtus Segafredo Bologna remained undefeated this season with an 87-99 rod win over JL Bourg en Bresse at Ekinox. The victory sent Virtus atop Group G at 2-0, while dropping Bourg to 0-2. Vince Hunter dominated with a career-highs of 23 points and 11 rebounds for his first EuroCup double-double. Milos Teodosic amassed 21 points and 6 assists, Marco Belinelli netted 19 points, Kyle Weems added 10 points and Stefan Markovic dished 8 assists. Danilo Andjusic paced Bourg with 19 points, Ivan Buva added 15, Maxime Courby 13, Pierre Pelos 12 and Zach Peacock 10. Hugo Benitez contributed 9 points and 7 assists in defeat.
Bourg started well with Courby making a three-pointer before Peacock drained a pair of jumpers for a 7-2 lead. Weems dunked twice on the break and then his layup gave the visitors their first lead, 7-8. Courby tied it at 13-13 and then gave the hosts the lead with his second three, but a Josh Adams jumper on the first-quarter buzzer made it 16-17. Pelos tied it again early in the second quarter, but Belinelli and Awudu Abass each hit threes for a 21-25 lead, which prompted a Bourg timeout. Luka Asceric knocked down a triple and Andjusic a three-point play to even the game at 27-27. Despite points from Belinelli and Abass, Buva muscled his way to a second-chance basket-plus-foul that nosed the hosts in front, 36-34. Teodosic responded with a jumper and a three as Virtus briefly regained the lead. Another three-point-play by Buva put Bourg on top 42-41, but Teodosic sank free throws and set up Hunter for a layup that gave Virtus a 44-47 halftime advantage.
Teodosic converted a three-point play and a triple in the first minute of the second half and Markovic's steal led to an Aligebovic slam and a 47-55 lead. Buva halved the deficit to 4 midway through the third quarter, but Virtus remained in control with another Teodosic triple making it 54-62. Teosodic made it a double-digit lead, 57-67, with a pair of free throws. Pelos scored from near and far as Bourg climbed to within 64-69. After a three by Hunter – his first of the season, Andjusic free throws ended the third quarter at 66-72. Courby started the fourth with a three, however, Virtus slowly started adding to its lead again. A Belinelli triple capped a 0-7 run to make it 69-79. Hunter stretched the lead to a dozen and with 4 minutes left, it was up to 15 on a hook shot by Julian Gamble. Benitez led a late Bourg rally to get within 86-92 with less than 2 minutes remaining. A three-pointer by Markovic and a three-point play by Belinelli put the game on ice.
Vince Hunter dominated for a second consecutive game, amassing career-highs in points (23) and rebounds (11). He shot 8 for 12 – including his first three-pointer of the season – from the field and made 6 of 9 free throws. Hunter, who bested the career-high he set the week before of 22 points, also collected 1 assist and 1 steal for a PIR of 27.
It seemed a tight finish could be in the cards when Maxime Courby opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer that made it 69-72. Vince Hunter scored on the ensuing possession and later added 2 free throws. Belinelli added a three-pointer and Josh Adams and Hunter both scored again in a 2-11 run that helped Virtus take control for good.
Stefan Markovic continues to make his case as one of the best players in EuroCup history. He only collected 3 rebounds for Virtus, but that was enough to push him into the career top 10 in defensive rebounds with 301. He leapfrogged former All-EuroLeague big man Ksistof Lavronovic for 10th place. Markovic is the only guard in the top 20.
Danilo Andjusic was outstanding in defeat, in part because he drew 12 fouls and went to the free-throw line 14 times. Both are club records and tied the most by any player in the competition this season, as did his 12 free throws made.
Virtus will look to keep its perfect record intact when it hosts Buducnost VOLI Podgorica in Round 3 of the Top 16 on Tuesday, January 16. Bourg heads on the road the following day to face Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021