Partizan NIS Belgrade ranked as one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the 7DAYS EuroCup in the regular season. However, those struggles were non-existent to start the Top 16 as Partizan broke two club records in a thrilling home victory.
Partizan nailed 14 three-pointers and scored 62 first-half points in starting Group E with a 99-81 win over Segafredo Virtus Bologna in front of a sell-out crowd at Stark Arena. Partizan connected on just 30.9 percent of its three-pointers in the regular season - the third-worst percentage in the league. But Corey Walden connected on 5 threes and Marcus Paige hit 4 triples in eclipsing the 13 shots from downtown the club hit in Round 2 against Tofas Bursa earlier this season.
"When you play in front of almost 20,000 people, the ball falls in," Partizan head coach Andrea Trinchieri joked about his team’s outstanding shooting night in which it made 14 of 32 threes for a 43.8% success rate.
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.
Both Trinchieri and Walden were thrilled about the team’s energy in an emotional game with Virtus featuring three important figures in Serbia’s basketball past and present in head coach Sasa Djordjevic and star playmakers Milos Teodosic and Stefan Markovic.
"We made a lot of mistakes, but played with unbelievable energy - a lot of deflections, we dove for the ball, and we played as a team," Trinchieri said.
"We came out - thanks to the fans and our hard work during the week - and we played our butts off. We played with incredible energy, incredible passion and incredible heart," added Walden, who scored a season-high 23 points in the win.
Energy, passion, heart, great outside shooting and the support of Belgrade's famously boisterous crowd. That was the winning recipe for Partizan against Virtus and Coach Trinchieri will try to recreate it for every game going forward, at least at home.