Valencia erases 21-point deficit to down Virtus on road
Valencia Basket fought back from a 21-point deficit to defeat Virtus Segafredo Bologna 96-97 on the road in a game that lived up to its billing with two of the 7DAYS EuroCup's main favorites going head-to-head. Virtus raced ahead 46-25 midway through the second quarter before Valencia started to chip away back into the Group B battle. The guests finally managed to get ahead with under 3 minutes left and then converted all 6 free throws in the final 35 seconds to secure their first road win of the season for a 2-2 mark. Klemen Prepelic scored 20 points - including a three-pointer in the final minute - to pace Valencia, while Sam Van Rossom scored 15 points, Martin Hermannsson and Jasiel Rivero both had 11 and Bojan Dubljevic finished with 10 points. Virtus dropped to 2-2 in wasting a 30-point fireworks show by Kyle Weems. Milos Teodosic added 18 points and 9 assists and Marco Belinelli chipped in 10 points in the loss.
Weems started the game with a steal and layup-and-one for the hosts. Van Rossom scored the guests’ first basket, but Virtus was unimpressed with Teodosic and Amar Alibegovic draining three-pointers for a 9-2 lead. Valencia was able to keep up with Weems and Virtus thanks to triples from Van Rossom and Hermannsson to make it 17-12. Teodosic and Alibegovic both hit from deep again as the advantage grew to 25-14. The guests were able to get to the foul line with 7 free throws to cut the margin to 29-23. Virtus followed with the final 4 points of a high-scoring first quarter and led 33-23.
Belinelli’s jumper started the second quarter with Xabi Lopez-Arostegui hitting at the other end. Virtus got hot from long range with Belinelli, Isaia Cordinier and Weems all draining three-pointers as the cushion swelled to 46-25. Valencia responded with a 0-8 run with Prepelic converting a four-point play to pull within 46-33. Virtus answered with 5 straight points, but Valencia had gained some rhythm and Van Rossom and Millan Jimenez both hit three-pointers in a 3-10 run to close the deficit to 54-43. It was 57-45 at the break.
Valencia built on the momentum from the end of the first half with the first 7 points of the third quarter, including a three by Van Rossom. Weems got rolling again with a jumper and three-pointer to help Virtus keep Valencia at an arm’s length. Teodosic and Alessandro Pajola both hit from deep as the cushion was up to 71-59. Valencia fought back thanks to the long ball with Prepelic, Hermannsson and Louis Labeyrie all draining triples and the visitors were within 75-70. The score was 79-72 after 30 minutes.
Valencia continued its fight in the fourth quarter, Rivero working hard on the offensive glass and Labeyrie scoring inside to trim it to 79-76. Virtus did not score in the first 3 minutes of the final frame until Kevin Hervey’s three-pointer. Valencia would not be stopped and Lopez-Arostegui converted an and-one and the advantage was down to 84-83 with under 4 minutes to play. The guests finally nosed ahead with a three-pointer from Dubjlevic to make it 86-87. Teodosic answered right back for Virtus and after Dubljevic tied it with a free throw, Virtus maestro Teodosic banked in a jumper off the glass for a 90-88 lead with 56 seconds remaining. Valencia was not ready to concede and Prepelic splashed a three-pointer to go back ahead 90-91. After Weems missed a triple, Lopez-Arostegui converted 2 foul shots with 35 seconds remaining for a 90-93 advantage. Rivero and Van Rossom both hit free throws in the final 35 seconds to fend off triples from Belinelli and Weems to get the win.
Pivotal performer: Prepelic sparks Valencia comeback
When Valencia was down by 21 points midway through the second quarter, the main thing the team was looking for was a spark. And Klemen Prepelic provided that, hitting a four-point play after having just scored to get the deficit down to 15 points. He ended up scoring 20 points including 3 three-pointers. The veteran also dished out 4 assists and grabbed 2 steals. On top of that came 5 fouls drawn for an index rating of 17.
Weems not enough for Virtus
Kyle Weems was in rare form in this big encounter, scoring a game-high 30 points - 5 more than his combined total from the first three games of the season. And he was extremely efficient: hitting 12 of 16 shots including 3 of 5 from long range as well as 3 of 5 free throws. He added 1 rebound, 1 assist and 1 steal for a PIR of 27. Neither the points nor PIR totals were career bests for Weems though as he poured in 35 points and had a 32 index rating for Strasbourg against Nizhny Novgorod in March 2016.
Telling numbers: Valencia capitalizes on points off turnovers
Valencia only had 1 fewer turnover (12-13), but the guests took advantage of them in scoring 21 points off those turnovers to 12 points for Virtus. Valencia also did a good job getting to the line, making 21 of 26 free throws compared to 11 of 17 for Virtus. The guests controlled the boards to the tune of 42 to 33, including 15 offensive rebounds. Another big number for Valencia was 39 - as in the number of points Virtus scored in the second half after pouring in 33 points in the first quarter alone.
Wednesday, November 10, 2021