Markus Howard put on a 34-point show to give Baskonia the 8th spot

2024-04-12T22:27:23+00:00 2024-04-12T22:51:43+00:00.

Cesare Milanti

12/Apr/24 22:27

Virtus Bologna suffered the 7th straight loss in the EuroLeague and dropped to the 10th place in the standings to end the Regular Season

By Cesare Milanti /

BOLOGNA, Italy – In the first game of this year’s EuroLeague Regular Season between Baskonia and Virtus Bologna in Vitoria, Marco Belinelli was the man on a mission, dragging the Italian side to the 91-81 win on the road.

It was a completely different time and context than tonight’s decisive clash for the 8th spot in the standings, potentially dreaming about the Playoffs with only one game left, facing Maccabi Tel Aviv in Belgrade. And the spotlights went all on another protagonist.

Markus Howard showcased all his offensive abilities and talent, dragging Dusko Ivanovic’s team to the crucial 95-91 in Segafredo Arena by ending with 34 points in his pocket. Codi-Miller McIntyre also had a huge credit in the Basque team’s success, delivering 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists. Vanja Marinkovic added 17 points and 5 rebounds to give Dusko Ivanovic’s team the win.

“Close and tough game between two teams who made good seasons. We both played very well, so this is a possibility to go in the Playoffs. It’s a good thing for European basketball, both Virtus and Baskonia have one or two games. [Maccabi Tel Aviv] is a very good team, they play fast, athletic, many players who can decide it. Everything is open”, Dusko Ivanovic commented after the win.

On the losing side, Iffe Lundberg showed glimpses of his decisive encounters in the first part of the season, ending with 18 points and 5 rebounds, while Daniel Hackett delivered an all-around performance with 11 points, 6 points, and 8 boards. The Italian team’s captain Marco Belinelli had 12 points in the defeat.

“For twenty minutes we played with great intensity, and a high level of concentration. Baskonia was coming in probably their best shape, they were in a good mood and had a good night. Our third period affected the initial game, we allowed them to score 31 points and gave them the confidence to arrive at the end when small details changed the game. We’re very disappointed”, Luca Banchi said.

With this victory, Baskonia ends the EuroLeague Regular Season in the 8th position at an 18-16 record, and will now face Maccabi Tel Aviv on April 16 for a spot in the EuroLeague Playoffs. Virtus Bologna, instead, dropped to 10th place with 17-17 and will travel to Istanbul to face Anadolu Efes in the first of two games in the Play-In Showdown, once again on April 16.

Always on the balanced edge in Bologna

Isaia Cordinier didn’t start well in his first game back after missing EuroLeague action since Round 29, picking up two fouls at 4:07 on the clock. Later on, Marco Belinelli drove to the basket for a layup in traffic, giving the black-and-white team the highest lead of the game that far (17-12). After six straight points from Markus Howard, Marco Belinelli beat the first-quarter buzzer from deep.

Iffe Lundberg tried to create separation in the second quarter scoring nine consecutive points, forcing Dusko Ivanovic’s timeout later on as Virtus gained the highest lead of the game at 47-38. Fighting at the rim before halftime, Achille Polonara didn’t leave time to breathe to his former team. With 40.4 seconds left, Chima Moneke interrupted Virtus Bologna’s 13-0 scoring run with a 2+1 play.

Entering the second half on a 10-4 scoring run, Baskonia reduced the gap to three points (57-54) forcing Luca Banchi’s timeout. However, once it came back to the court, Virtus Bologna rolled once again, replying with a 12-0 run to escape. It wasn’t the case, as Codi Miller-McIntyre turned on fire bringing his team once again up 69-67 with 2:10, and Baskonia went on a 16-1 run late in the third quarter.

Dunking it on one way and banking in from three, Codi Miller-McIntyre and Iffe Lundberg exchanged blows ending the third quarter. Virtus Bologna didn’t score one single basket in 3:26 minutes starting the fourth before Achille Polonara could interrupt his team’s bad moment.

Markus Howard didn’t stop and kept Baskonia ahead at 4:28 left. Going at the line with 1:32 on the clock, Jordan Mickey tied things up at 90-90, but Baskonia tipped the ball in with 32.4 seconds left in the game as Matt Costello grabbed a crucial offensive rebound. The former Zenit center went once again at the charity stripe, missing the first of two free throws. With the game on the line, Virtus Bologna lost the ball


Read all the latest news from the basketball world