The last time Segafredo Virtus Bologna played - and won - a game in the EuroCup was January 2004. However, even though roster Coach Sasa Djordjevic led onto the court in Ulm, Germany, on Wednesday had little in common the squad from 15-plus years ago, the roster did have some experience to it. Three of the top performers for Virtus in its 79-92 victory over ratipharm Ulm were born in the 1980s.
Forward Kyle Weems, 30, is in his third EuroCup campaign with as many teams. He rose up to lead the team in scoring with 18 points and also contributed 5 rebounds. Julian Gamble, also 30, dominated the paint in his EuroCup debut with 10 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. Pont guard Stefan Markovic, 31, starred in his 106th EuroCup appearance, which is the eighth-most in competition history. Markovic tallied 16 points on 3-for-5 three-point shooting plus 8 assists and 3 steals.
Markovic ran his career assists total to 499, which is also a EuroCup record, and his steals total sits at 158, which is 9 fewer than the all-time leader, Mire Chatman. What's more, Virtus has one more product of the 1980s on its roster, but he was not fit for Wednesday’s game. His name is Milos Teodosic.
While Virtus showed that it can lean on its old heads for the tough game in Germany, a pair of younger EuroCup first-timers also showed their worth off the bench. High-flying forward Vince Hunter, 25, amassed 17 points, 5 boards and 2 blocks in 17:30. In addition to his production, Hunter also starred in the highlight reels with a pair of alley-oop dunks. Another important contributor was teenage guard Alessandro Pajola, who came up big with 6 assists in 15:32 on the floor.
Together, the nine players who made up Virtus's rotation on this day made the most two-point baskets (33) of any team in Round 1, tied for the most points scored, collected the second-most blocks (6) and fourth-most rebounds (40). And they did so in a tough environment on the road in a game that saw many lead changes in the first 25 minutes before the visitors rose up at the end of the third quarter with a game-changing run. It was a promising showing led by the team's senior-most players with the young guns playing their roles, too. It left no doubt that Virtus is a team on the rise again.