Abass fuels Virtus victory at Lietkabelis
Virtus Segafredo Bologna dominated the game in the third quarter en route to a convincing 61-76 victory over Lietkabelis Panevezys in their Group C game on Wednesday at Cido Arena in Panevezys. Awudu Abass scored 10 of his team-high 19 points in a 0-15 third-quarter run to put Virtus in total control and the hosts never threatened again. Giampaolo Ricci added 12 points and Amar Alibegovic and Kyle Weems scored 11 apiece for the victors. Kyle Vinales paced Lietkabelis with 20 points and Margiris Normantas added 10.
Marin Maric got off to a hot start for the hosts with the game's first basket followed by a steal on the defensive end, but a shot clock malfunction led to a lengthy delay. When play resumed, a put-back by Maric and 5 quick points by Vinales caused a stunned Virtus side to call timeout down 11-3. Virtus responded with the next 6 points – including a pair of dunks off of steals. However, Lietkabelis remained in control and led by as many as 8 before a triple by Alibegovic trimmed the gap to 24-19 after 10 minutes. Virtus stepped up on defense in holding the hosts to just a single basket in the first 6 minutes of the second quarter. A three-pointer by Ricci gave the visitors their first lead, 26-28. Vinales's third triple of the half saw Lietkabelis briefly regain the lead before a layup by Josh Adams put Virtus ahead 35-36 at the break.
Both teams took time to shake off the halftime rust. Abass came alive with back-to-back three-pointers – on either side of a Lietkabelis timeout – to highlight a 0-15 Virtus charge as the visitors took control and led 38-53 through three quarters. Abass's next triple capped a 0-7 start to the fourth quarter and took the margin into the 20s. A three by Vinales 2-plus minutes into the fourth quarter was the home team's first basket of the second half. Virtus did not slow down with a three by Weems giving the visitors their biggest lead of the night, 44-72. A late surge by Lietkabelis made the final score more respectable, but the outcome was never again in doubt.
Awudu Abass joined Virtus over the summer but has managed to fit in quickly. He came within a basket of bit EuroCup career-high by going for 19 points in 20 minutes. He was perfect in 3 tries from behind the arc and on 6 free throw attempts. Abass also had a spectacular block in the fourth quarter and finished with a performance index rating of 19.
The game was close for two and a half quarters; free throws by Vytenis Lipkevicius made it 37-38 midway through the third quarter. The came 2 free throws by Abass, 2 more by Josh Adams and back-to-back three-pointers by Abass to trigger a 0-15 run from which the home team never recovered.
Lietkabelis's offensive woes
The home team did not make a single basket in the third quarter with all 3 of its points coming from the free-throw line. It was the first time in EuroCup history that a team failed to score a basket in a quarter. Lietkabelis missed 7 two-point tries and 4 three-point attempts in that period. The 61 points scored marked the second-lowest in club history; it was held to 57 by FC Bayern Munich in an October 2017 contest.
Virtus returns home to host Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar for its next game in a clash of Round 1 winners on Wednesday, October 7. Lietkabelis will visit AS Monaco on the same evening.
Wednesday, September 30, 2020