Home teams win first game in Eurocup semifinals

There were no surprises in the first games of the best-of-three 7DAYS EuroCup Semifinals as the home teams fended off stern challenges from the spirited visitors to win on Tuesday.

In the early game, AS Monaco led by 18 at halftime but saw Herbalife Gran Canaria rally to within 4 late in the game. Later, Virtus Segafredo Bologna collected its 20th consecutive EuroCup victory by outlasting UNICS Kazan in another thriller.

The series now moves to the home courts of the Game 1 visitors on Friday. Wins for Monaco or Virtus send the team to the finals. Game 2 wins for Gran Canaria or UNICS will take their respective series to a third and decisive Game 3 on Wednesday, April 14.

Eurocup semis

AS Monaco 1-0 Herbalife Gran Canaria

AS Monaco survived several second-half comebacks from Herbalife Gran Canaria to prevail 82-77 at Stade Louis II in the opening game of their best-of-three EuroCup Semifinals series. The hosts dominated the second quarter 24-5 to grab a commanding 44-26 halftime lead. Gran Canaria came right back with a 1-15 start to the second half and continued fighting until the bitter end but could not complete the comeback. Rob Gray shined with 25 points on 5-of-6 three-point shooting to pace the winners. Mathias Lessort added 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 blocks – the latter number marking a career-high, a club record, and tying the EuroCup record for a semifinals game. J.J. O’Brien and Dee Bost added 11 points each for the winners.

Virtus Segafredo Bologna 1-0 UNICS Kazan

Virtus Segafredo Bologna took a decisive step toward the 7DAYS EuroCup Finals by downing UNICS Kazan 80-76 in Basket City in Game 1 of their best-of-three semifinals on Tuesday. The Italian powerhouse recorded its 20th consecutive win in the competition, matching the longest winning streak in EuroCup history – Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar won 20 consecutive games twice, the latest one in the 2017-18 campaign. Milos Teodosic led the winners with 27 points plus 5 assists, and Marco Belinelli added 12 for Virtus. Jamar Smith led UNICS with 22 points, John Brown and John Holland each added 13, and Jordan Morgan had 11 for the visitors. Teodosic scored 9 first-quarter points and got help from Belinelli and Julian Gamble to give Virtus a 23-19 lead after 10 minutes. Brown but UNICS ahead, 31-32, but Belinelli and Amedeo Tessitori helped the hosts regain the lead, 44-36, at halftime. Virtus boosted its margin to 50-38, but Isaiah Canaan and Holland led UNICS to tie it again, 56-56, at the end of the third quarter. With the game tied at 64-64, Teodosic took over in crunch time with 11 points and a couple of assists in the final 6 minutes, making sure Virtus got a critical victory.

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