By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Iffe Lundberg scored just two points in the first three quarters, but finished the night with 19, leading Virtus Segafredo Bologna to the 86-79 win over EA7 Emporio Armani Milan.
It was a game decided on details, with Toko Shengelia and Awudu Abass adding 14 points each and Daniel Hackett finishing the night with 10 points and seven assists.
On the other side, Shavon Shields had 21 points and Nikola Mirotic added 16, but ultimately couldn’t save the day.
After a close first half which ended with the home team leading by 45-40 behind 11 points by Abass, Milan turned things around with a 14-5 run to get up by four (54-50).
However, Hacket answered back with five straight points to give Virtus the 55-54 lead. Still, Monaco didn’t back down led by back-t0-back threes by Shields and Mirotic for a 62-60 advantage and the third period ended with Virtus up by two (65-63).
But things changed in the last quarter with Lundberg scoring 10 of his points in six minutes and building a 75-68 advantage for Virtus with four minutes left. Milan trimmed the lead to two (81-79) after two threes, again by Mirotic and Shields, just one minute before the final buzzer.
Lundberg answered back with one more three-pointer (84-79) and the game was over with Virtus jumping to a 6-2 record, while Milan dropped to 2-6.
“We are losing the same way”
Milan coach Ettore Messina admitted that Virtus’ guard decided to outcome: “Lundberg was of course the key because he is a player who is not playing much for whatever reason, he found himself ready and he scored 17 points in the fourth quarter and that’s pretty dangerous”.
On the other hand, speaking about his team, he added that Milan can’t close – at least yet – the games the right way: “Every time we built a lead, we wasted it. And it’s probably the sixth-seventh game that we are losing in the fourth quarter, always in the same way. Because in the fourth quarter, you must defend like crazy and make good decisions on offense. Simply good decisions and unfortunately this is something that we are not doing. The only thing is to keep working, practicing, and trying to get better. What we did defensively in the last quarter honestly cost us the game and we forced the situations”.
Virtus coach Luca Banchi was happy and proud of his team: “We offered a very spectacular game for the fans and I believe that we have to congratulate also our opponents. They have impressive focus and execution on a high level and I am very proud because we were on the same level. It was an amazing effort that transformed a dangerous night, into a special one. I hope that our fans are also proud”.
Photo credit: EuroLeague