Partizan NIS Belgrade showed some strong resiliency in coming back from a big deficit late and prevailing to lock up a spot in the 7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinals. Partizan trailed by 15 points in the third quarter and the deficit was 8 points with 5 minutes left, but Corey Walden poured in 29 points in carrying Coach Andrea Trinchieri's team to an 82-84 victory. The result gave Partizan a 4-1 record in Group E and secured it first place in the group and home-court advantage for the next phase.
"It just shows the resiliency of the team and the fight we have and the character that we have. We could have easily laid down and we knew they were going to come out strong. But this just shows the toughness of the team. Everyone did their part and did a great job," said Walden, whose top two games this season have come against Virtus after tallying 23 points in Round 1 of the Top 16.
"We showed great resilience. We didn’t play good but sometimes basketball gives you back all your effort," Trinchieri said. "We stayed mentally in the game when we were playing bad and when we were playing good. It was a very tough game, but we waited for our moment."
Partizan had been chasing Virtus the whole game, trailing 47-35 at the break and 52-37 in the third quarter. But Trinchieri’s men just chipped away at the lead with a number of players coming up with multiple plays along the way while Walden was the ever-present force.
The team’s effort was made that much more difficult when veteran guard Nemanja Gordic went down with an ankle injury in the second quarter and could not play the rest of the way. He is a player who has tallied double figures in points eight times this season, including 22 points against Virtus to open the Top 16.
The Partizan victory was also the first loss this season for Virtus at the Paladozza, where it had won its seven EuroCup games by an average of 12.1 points, including three games by more 15 points or more.
That was before the Partizan resiliency came to town.