Reyer holds off Bourg for opening road win
Umana Reyer Venice opened the 7DAYS EuroCup season with its first-ever opening-round road win, downing Mincidelice JL Bourg en Bresse 62-73 on Wednesday night in Group B. Reyer took the lead for good early in the first quarter and led by double figures for the majority of the night. Reyer opened its first double-digit lead in the second quarter and made it a 16-point game in the third before holding off Bourg's fourth-quarter comeback attempt. Mitchell Watt starred with 16 points and 12 rebounds for the winners. Stefano Tonut scored 14 with 5 assists, Austin Daye netted 13 and Valerio Mazzola 10 points for Reyer. Rasheed Sulaimon paced Bourg scorers with 11 points and Pierre Pelos scored 10 in a losing effort.
Reyer went inside early after back-to-back threes from Tarik Phillip and Valerio Mazzola. Watt followed with a basket inside before a transition triple from Julyan Stone capped a 2-13 run. Maxime Roos hit a corner triple for the hosts, but a three-point play from Vitali extended it to 9-18. However, Pierre Pelos hit from the outside and Hugo Benitez made a layup that got Bourg within 14-18 after 10 minutes.
Reyer was held without a basket for more than 4 minutes between the first and second quarters before layups from Jeff Brooks and Austin Daye in a 0-6 run helped open the first double-digit margin of the night. Bourg was held to a single point for more than 5 minutes to open the second quarter, as Stefano Tonut's fastbreak layup extended the difference to 15-26. Alexandre Chassang's triple ended Bourg's drought of nearly 7 minutes without a field goal before Tonut and Hayden Dalton traded triples. Baskets were few and far between the rest of the first half, but Mazzola nailed another triple to help send Reyer into halftime up 26-34.
Phillip and Mazzola nailed back-to-back threes to open the third quarter. Pelos scored twice inside and Rasheed Sulaimon hit a jumper, but Watt and Tonut combined to score 8 points and extend the margin to 32-48 midway through the third. Roos had an explosive put-back dunk and Bourg cut it into single digits behind Sulaimon who hit a triple and a long jumper, cutting it to 41-50. Benitez added a three-point play to Bourg's tally, but Austin Day hit a tough corner triple to make it 44-55 after three quarters.
Daye knocked down another one from the same spot in the opening minute of the fourth, but Dalton had a triple and Mika scored 5 points, including a three-point play that kept Bourg in striking distance, 52-60. Mika's dunk made it 56-62, but that was as close as Bourg got despite keeping Reyer without a field goal for nearly 5 minutes. Daye got a shooter's roll on a three-pointer with 2:10 left in the game to get the margin back to double figures, 56-66. The visitors sealed the deal when Tonut also got a favorable bounce for a three-pointer, making it 58-69 entering the final minute.
Telling numbers: Reyer shoots better and makes fewer TOs
Offensively, Umana Reyer Venice nailed 11 of 26 (42.3%) three-pointers, compared to Mincidelice JL Bourg en Bresse's 6-for-21 (28.6%) three-point shooting. Reyer finished with 22 assists, compared to just 15 for Bourg while the visitors also had a significant advantage in a turnover margin, committing just 10 to the hosts' 16 for the night.
The biggest statistical win for Reyer, however, might be its 6 second-chance points to Bourg's only 5. It might look quite insignificant, but not when knowing that Bourg had 15 offensive rebounds, which is more than twice the number of offensive boards that Reyer had. Still, despite a major rebounding disadvantage, the visitors did not suffer.
Daye emerges from foul trouble to be Reyer's key performer
One of Reyer's key players, power forward Austin Daye, was not only quiet for the first two and a half quarters, but he barely played. Due two a pair of personal fouls, Daye only spent 2 minutes and 45 seconds on the floor in the first half and did not enter the game again until the halfway mark of the third quarter. But he quickly caught fire, first scoring a basket inside, then hitting a triple to end the third, and also knocking one down in the opening minute of the fourth quarter. Daye ended up being on the floor for 12 of the final 15 minutes of the game and scoring 11 of his 13 points in that span, finishing the game 2-of-3 on two-point shooting and 3-of-4 from long range.
Reyer's defense on display
Mincidelice JL Bourg en Bresse had 9 offensive rebounds in the first half, but that did not help it much because Reyer held the hosts to 4-for-21 two-point shooting in the first two quarters. Reyer's defense was especially efficient in the second quarter when Bourg did not score a single two-point shot on 6 attempts while making 2-of-5 from three-point range.
Bourg finished with a 42-30 rebounding edge, including 15-7 on the offensive glass, and Bourg did make 14 two-point shots in the second half. However, the hosts made only 2 of 10 three-point shots after the break. Reyer's defense simply never allowed the hosts to find a balanced offensive effort and never allowed them to cut the margin closer than 6 points.
Wednesday, October 20, 2021