Virtus VidiVici downing Union Olimpija 101-91 at home
Virtus VidiVici broke its four-game losing streak in Group A by downing Union Olimpija 101-91 at home on Thursday in Bologna, Italy. Both teams now have 2-4 records and are tied with Zalgiris for the fifth and decisive spot in the group. Dewarick Spencer paced the winners with 34 points on 7-for-8 two-point and 5-for-9 three-point shooting, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Guilherme Giovannoni added 19 points, Delonte Holland had 16, Fabio Di Bella 12 and Roberto Chiacig 10 for Virtus. Jasmin Hukic led Olimpija with 22 points. Miha Zupan added 19, Goran Dragic had 13 and Marko Milic 12. Hukic led a 0-10 run that got Olimpija within 21-20 after 10 minutes and Zupan pushed the guests ahead by double digits soon after. Booker, Spencer and Chiacig brought Virtus back within 41-43 by halftime. Virtus went ahead in the second half, but Dragic managed to tie the game for the last time, 59-59. After that, Virtus rolled as Spencer and Donnie McGrath combined for 11 points in an 18-2 run, while Zupan, Milic and Hukic fueled a 3-17 response to get Olimpija back in the game at 86-83. A critical triple by Fabio Di Bella and free throws by Holland put Virtus way ahead for good.
After Hukic opened the game with a three-pointer, Spencer scored 7 consecutive points to lift VidiVici. Giovannoni made it 9-3 with foul shots, but Hukic scored on a jumper and Dragic penetrated for a basket-plus-foul. When Milic exploited a Maurice Bailey steal for a fast-break slam, Olimpija capped its own 0-7 run and took the lead midway through the quarter. VidiVici replied with a 10-0 run started by Di Bella, fueled by Olimpija mistakes and capped by a Holland jumper. But it was a first quarter full of runs as Olimpija answered with an identical 0-10 surge in which Bailey added a pull-up shot with an additional foul and Hukic hit another three-pointer to give the lead back to the visitors. Holland, however, stole a ball from Bailey’s hands and dunked alone to make it 20-21 after 10 minutes.
Giovannoni scored a layup to start the second quarter, but Hukic didn’t take his hand out of the microwave and launched Olimpija's next run. He bagged three triples in three minutes, Bailey added another and Zupan took over the offensive key to cap a 0-12 run that lifted the guests up to 27-38. Chris Booker's wide-open jumper maintained the 11-point lead for Ljubljana until Bailey committed an unsportsmanlike foul that helped VidiVici get back to 32-40. The hosts continued to close the gap as a three-pointer by Spencer and a fast-break basket by Holland made it 37-41. Then, two straight low-post moves by Chiacig against Zupan made it 41-43 at the break.
VidiVici's defense returned with an higher tone in the third quarter as Olimpija could not find the basket for two minutes and the host used Giovannoni and Spencer to go ahead 47-43. Booker and Taylor tied the game with layups, but VidiVici tried to run away again thanks to a three-pointer by McGrath and a three-point play by Holland that made it 57-49 midway through the quarter. Another fastbreak by Giovannoni and a three-pointer by Spencer widened the gap up to 13 points, forcing an Olimpija timeout. But VidiVici remained hot as McGrath and Spencer added two more three-pointers to the amazing 21-4 run that broke the game. After a pair of foul shots by Holland, the hosts led 72-53 by the end of the third period.
The hosts's lead reached 22 points after Spencer and Giovannoni opened the final quarter with back-to-back triples. Olimpija started its full-court pressure and the game incredibly changed. Dragic provoked trouble for the hosts by pushing the ball upcourt and steals narrowed the gap to 81-66. Hukic's sixth three-pointer and Zupan's put-back made it 83-71 after some more VidiVici turnovers. Moreover, Garri missed a dunk and Zupan exploited it with a three-pointer to make it 83-74 with four minutes to play. A free-throw by Di Bella tried to stop the rally, but Sasa Doncic hit foul shots and Olimpija also posted a five-point play with Zupan scoring a triple-with-a-foul and Virtus's Luca Garri touching the ball on the additional free-throw, making it 2 points for the guests. It was incredible to see a 86-83 scoreboard when Doncic stole another ball and scored a layup with two minutes left. Then Virtus captain Di Bella hit the key-shot of the night – a three-pointer that made it 89-83 . Di Bella, again, went 2 for 2 on free-throws in the closing minute making it 92-85 and securing a hard-fought win for the “Black V.”
Thursday, November 29, 2007