Virtus wins Group G by edging Olimpija in OT
Virtus Segafredo Bologna survived a major battle and managed to knock off Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana 98-108 in overtime on the road to remain undefeated on the season. Virtus gave up a 14-point lead and then trailed by 9 points with less than 3 minutes to play before coming back to force overtime and move to 5-0 and to clinch first place in Group G of the Top 16. Kyle Weems paced Virtus with 25 points while Marco Belinelli scored 16 points, Milos Teodosic collected 14 points and 12 assists and Vince Hunter added 14 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks in the win. Olimpija dropped its first game at home in the EuroCup to fall to 3-2 despite Jaka Blazic scoring 29 points. Edo Muric added 18 points, Luka Rupnik scored 16 points, Kendrick Perry added 15 points, 5 rebounds and 9 assists and Jarrod Jones chipped in 11 points in the loss.
Jones started the game with a three-point play for the hosts with Weems hitting a triple at the other end. Weems added a dunk and three-pointer and Giampaolo Ricci was also on target from deep for a 7-13 lead early on. Blazic started to pick things up with 8 points for Olimpija while Amar Alibegovic had 6 points for Virtus, which led 22-23 after 10 minutes. Hunter’s three-point play sparked a big 0-12 run to start the second quarter, including a three-pointer by Belinelli. Weems scored to make it 24-37. Olimpija did not score until Blazic’s free throw with 4:31 minutes left, but roared back with a 17-2 streak thanks to 2 three-pointers from Muric and a triple from Blazic to give the hosts the lead 40-39 at the break. Jones started the second half with a three-pointer, but was matched by a triple from Teodosic and Julian Gamble evened the game at 43-43 with a free throw. A Ricci triple put the visitors up 46-48 only to see Blazic punch right back from long range. Weems scored to put Virtus up 53-54, but the hosts closed on a 9-2 spurt to lead 62-56 after 30 minutes.
Awudu Abass’s triple to start the fourth quarter halved the deficit, but the gap was 66-59 after two scores from Mikael Hopkins. Belinelli drained a long three-pointer only to see Jones match from deep and Rion Brown’s layup made it 73-64. Virtus was not ready to give up with Alibegovic hitting a triple and Alessandro Pajola converted a three-point play to make it 75-72. Rupnik drained 2 triples and Blazic hit a three-pointer to extend the advantage to 84-75 with less than 3 minutes to play. Virtus raced back with a 2-11 run including a Belinelli three-pointer and 4 free throws by Teodosic to knot the game at 86-86. Perry responded with a three-point play with 49 seconds to play for an 89-86 cushion. After Teodosic and Blazic swapped free throws, Hunter got an offensive rebound on a Teodosic missed three-pointer and the ball landed with Belinelli, who tied the game with a triple with 1.9 seconds left to force overtime.
Weems opened the overtime with a three-pointer and Stefan Markovic also hit from deep for his first points and a 91-97 Virtus lead. Muric's three-pointer to get the hosts within 95-98 but Weems drained a triple of his own and added a basket to push the margin to 95-105 with 82 seconds left. Weems finished off Olimpija for good with a three with 30 seconds to play.
Olimpija still can book quarterfinals ticket
Olimpija missed its chance to join Virtus in the quarterfinals from Group G, but could still book its ticket to the next stage if Buducnost VOLI Podgorica loses against JL Bourg en Bresse on Wednesday.
Big second half and OT for Teodosic
Milos Teodosic really stepped up his game after halftime as the Serbian star scored all 14 of his points and dished out 8 of his 12 assists in the second half and overtime.
Virtus took the rebounding battle 40-33 in picking up 18 second chance points to 7 for Olimpija. Virtus also held Olimpija to just 32.6% shooting on three-pointers.
Olimpija’s final game of the Top 16 will be at Buducnost VOLI Podgorica on Tuesday, March 9. Virtus ends its Top 16 with a home game against JL Bourg en Bresse the same evening.
Tuesday, March 2, 2021