Virtus Bologna wins Eurocup
Virtus Segafredo Bologna is the 2021-22 7DAYS EuroCup champion after defeating Frutti Extra Bursaspor 80-67 in front of a sellout crowd at Virtus Segafredo Arena on Wednesday.
Virtus became the first Italian team ever to win the competition, lifted its sixth continental trophy, and earned the right to play in the 2022-23 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. Virtus finished the season on a seven-game winning streak. Milos Teodosic led the winners with 21 points to earn EuroCup Finals MVP honors. Kyle Weems and Mam Jaiteh each scored 13, Marco Belinelli had 12, and Jakarr Sampson 11 for Virtus. Jaiteh, the EuroCup MVP, added ten rebounds, and Weems blocked four shots. David Dudzinski paced Bursaspor with 14 points, Onuralp Bitim scored 12, and Derek Needham and Kevarrius Hayes each had 11 for the visitors.
Dudzinski got Bursaspor going with a put-back layup that Teodosic improved on with a three-pointer for a 3-2 Virtus lead. Hayes scored around the basket, and Needham bettered Teodosic’s jumper with a shot from downtown for a 6-7 Bursaspor lead. The guests entered the foul penalty in less than 3 minutes, forcing Coach Dusan Alimpijevic to change his defensive strategy. Mam Jaiteh took over with a reverse layup, and Weems added a triple, getting help from Teodosic and Kevin Hervey in a 10-0 run that gave Virtus a 16-7 lead. Omer Utku Al rescued Bursaspor with a shot from beyond the arc, and Andrews found his first points, but Sampson answered with a reverse layup to make it 18-12. Belinelli followed a reverse layup with free throws and added a catch-and-shoot three-pointer that boosted the hosts’ lead to 25-12 after 10 minutes.
Holland struck from downtown early in the second quarter. Sampson quickly answered with a power layup, and Belinelli swished a jumper as Needham returned to the bench with three fouls. Andrews buried a step-back jumper off a Bursaspor timeout, and Bitim got the visitors a bit closer, 31-20. Weems buried a three-pointer in transition, but Bitim and Holland kept Bursaspor within 34-24, prompting Virtus to call timeout. Teodosic rescued Virtus with a step-back triple off the dribble, and Sampson solved a broken play with a layup that restored a 40-25 lead. Dudzinski stepped up with a big basket in the low post and beat the buzzer with an alley-oop layup to give Bursaspor hope, 41-31, at halftime.
Kevarrius Hayes brought the visitors within single digits, 41-33, soon after the break. Weems stepped up with a three-pointer, and Sampson matched Hayes’s layup with a one-handed put-back slam that ignited the crowd at 46-35. Teodosic took over with a driving layup, and Shengelia added a jump hook that seemed to break the game open, 50-35. Bitim tried to change things with a power basket, and Needham downed a jumper. Dudzinski scored off the baseline, and Needham capped a 0-8 run from the foul line. Weems found answers on offense, and Teodosic buried consecutive three-pointers to give Virtus fresh air, 58-43. Holland struck from downtown, and Hayes dunked to bring the visitors within 60-50. Jaiteh banked in a jump hook that Bitim bettered with a triple to fix the score at 62-53 after 30 minutes.
Jaiteh and Dudzinski traded jump hooks early in the fourth quarter, and Needham’s coast-to-coast layup brought Bursaspor within 64-57. Bitim soon sank a mid-range jumper, which caused Virtus to call timeout at 64-59. Hervey finished a three-chance Virtus offense with a jumper which Jaiteh followed with a tip-in that restored a 68-60 lead with over 6 minutes left. Shengelia added a layup off a spin move, and Bursaspor stopped the game at 70-60. Needham banked in a running floater, which Belinelli bettered with a catch-and-shoot three-pointer. Hayes took over with a put-back dunk, and Dudzinski struck from beyond the arc to keep Bursaspor in the game, 75-67. Jaiteh dunked, and Weems’s block on Andrews allowed Teodosic to score at the other end, sealing the outcome, 80-67, in the next-to-last minute. Bursaspor kept trying, but Virtus fans had plenty of time to celebrate that their team became the EuroCup champion and will play in the EuroLeague next season.
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