Partizan routs Virtus in Belgrade
Partizan NIS Belgrade opened its Top 16 in sterling fashion on Wednesday with a record-setting 99-81 victory at home over Segafredo Virtus Bologna. Corey Walden led the way with 5 three-pointers and 23 points for Partizan, which set club marks for most points in a half with 62 in the first half and most triples in a game with 14. Nemanja Gordic scored 22 points, Marcus Paige tallied 19 and Novica Velickovic chipped in 10 points and 7 rebounds in the teams' first game in Group E. Virtus was paced by Frank Gaines with 21 points and Milos Teodosic and Julian Gamble both had 14 points, but they were not enough. The game had a special meaning for the Partizan fans as Virtus is coached by former Partizan star and Serbian national team coach Sasa Djordjevic and features Serbian internationals Teodosic and Stefan Markovic.
Velickovic opened the game with the first 4 points for Partizan only to see Gamble answer with 4 straight for a 4-7 Virtus lead. Walden punched back with 2 triples to put Partizan back ahead before he added another from downtown as the hosts led 20-14. The triples kept falling and Gaines drained 2 more to get Virtus within 24-22. The score was 26-23 after 10 minutes. Partizan kept its hot shooting going in the second frame with Paige knocking down back-to-back threes as the lead grew to 35-23 with Virtus unable to score in nearly the first 3 minutes until Gamble’s basket. The hosts did not slow down as Velickovic and Gordic triples highlighted a 17-5 surge for a 52-30 advantage. Another Gaines three-pointer helped Virtus cut the gap, but Partizan went into the break up 62-42.
The second half started with an unsportsmanlike foul on Rade Zagorac, which resulted in 2 Kyle Weems free throws and a Gamble layup. Teodosic followed with a three to finish Virtus's 0-9 spurt to pull within 62-51. Zagorac scored the hosts' first basket after more than 3 minutes and then Walden hit back-to-back triples in a 10-0 run as Partizan soared to 74-53. Virtus not only could not get defensive stops but also failed to string together points with Vince Hunter missing 4 straight free throws. Gordic hit Partizan’s final 8 points of the third quarter with a three-pointer, triple and jumper at the buzzer for an 84-63 lead. Partizan committed 2 turnovers early in the final frame and Alessandro Pajola scored the first 5 points and Weems made it 84-70. Paige finally got Partizan back on the scoreboard and Walden downed two more triples in an 11-0 run over 3 minutes to end any comeback attempt with a 95-70 lead with just over 5 minutes left. Virtus could not get closer than 18 points the rest of the way.
Nemanja Gordic was nearly perfect for Partizan in scoring 22 points on 3-of-3 two-point shooting, 2-of-4 three-pointers and 10-of-10 free throws. He added 1 rebound, 4 assists and 6 fouls drawn for a career-high performance index rating of 30.
Partizan’s 62 points set a new club record for most scored in a half of a EuroCup game, besting the previous mark of 54 second-half points against Retabet Bilbao Basket in October 2017 in a 96-92 road victory. Its 14 three-pointers made broke Partizan’s club mark of 13 against Tofas Bursa from Round 2 earlier this season.
Partizan connected on 14 of 32 three-pointers (43.8%), while holding Virtus to 33.3% from the outside as well as forcing 16 Virtus turnovers.
Partizan will face another Italian club in the next round as it heads on the road to play Dolomiti Energia Trento on Wednesday, January 15. Virtus heads back home and will take on Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul the same evening.
Wednesday, January 8, 2020