Virtus needs historic showing to fend off Monaco
Virtus Segafredo Bologna needed a historic performance to fend off AS Monaco 94-85 and grab sole possession of first place in Group C. In a battle of unbeaten teams, Vince Hunter poured in 20 points to lead Virtus while Julian Gamble was just as much a threat down low with 19 points. Milos Teodosic collected 14 points, 12 assists and 7 fouls drawn for an index rating of 32 while Amar Alibegovic chipped in 10 points and Stefan Markovic had 8 points and 8 assists. Virtus set a club record with 32 assists in moving to 4-0. Monaco, which was playing without the injured Khadeen Carrington, gave a strong fight with Damien Inglis tying his career-high with 17 points to lead the way. Darral Willis had 14 points and Marcos Knight and Mathias Lessort both tallied 12 points in the loss, which dropped the club to 3-1 in the group.
After Gamble started with the game’s first 4 points, Dee Bost netted 5 points at the other end as Monaco went up 4-7. Willis added 4 points for Monaco for an 8-14 lead. Virtus exploded on a 14-1 run with Alibegovic and Hunter running the floor and attacking the basket for 12 points and a 22-15 lead. Monaco found its rhythm again and trailed just 27-23 after 10 minutes. Virtus had a good start to the second quarter with Amedeo Tessitori scoring 4 points in an 8-2 surge to open a 35-27 cushion. Virtus failed to make it a double-digit lead and Inglis tallied 9 straight points for Monaco. Willis's three-point play knotted the contest 41-41 at the break.
Monaco continued its strong play early in the second half with Willis draining a triple for a 43-49 cushion. Teosodic twice found Hunter on the break and then nailed Virtus's first triple of the game to trim the gap to 50-51. Josh Adams followed with a long triple just before the shot clock expired to even it again 55-55. Monaco didn’t let Virtus pull ahead and the guests led 59-63 after 30 minutes. Hunter opened the fourth quarter with a three-point play to get the deficit to 1 point only to see Bost knock down a three-pointer and Inglis follow with a triple for a 64-69 cushion. Three Gamble scores had Virtus within 70-71, but Inglis again hit from long range and Knight pushed the margin to 70-76. Virtus finally broke through with two more Gamble scores to nose ahead 77-76. The lead switched hands four times before Markovic’s free throws made it 83-80 for Virtus. J.J. O’Brien converted a three-point play to even it again, but Virtus could not be stopped as Markovic hit a triple and Hunter and Teodosic both added 4 points in the final 68 seconds for the big final margin.
Milos Teodosic was fantastic all game with 14 points while also setting a EuroCup career-best with 12 assists - 2 more than he had against Partizan Belgrade in February 2020. He added 2 rebounds, 2 steals and 7 fouls drawn for an index rating of 32, which eclipsed his previous best of 30 from the game against Partizan.
No boost for Bost
Monaco’s Dee Bost came into the game ranked second among qualified EuroCup players with 20.0 points a game. Virtus shut him down though as Bost collected 8 points on 3-of-10 shooting, including 2-of-8 from three-point range. He dished out 7 assists, but committed 3 turnovers for an index rating of 4.
Virtus was unstoppable offensively, shooting 65.1% on two-pointers while making all 5 of its three-pointers (5 of 11; 45.5%) in the final 15 minutes of the game. The 32 assists topped Virtus's previous best mark of 29 from the Top 16 game against Dolomitri Energia Trento in January 2020. Virtus held Monaco to just 6-of-25 shooting on three-pointers (24.0%).
Virtus will look to remain undefeated in the group as it heads on the road to take on Telenet Giants Antwerp on Tuesday, October 27. Monaco will look to rebound from the first loss as it heads back home to host Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar the following day.
Wednesday, October 21, 2020