Virtus broke seven-game losing streak to eliminate Efes in the Play-In

2024-04-16T21:59:28+00:00 2024-04-16T22:18:57+00:00.

Cesare Milanti

16/Apr/24 21:59

Despite the home-court advantage, the Turkish team couldn’t progress to face Baskonia for a spot in the EuroLeague Playoffs

By Eurohoops team /

After Maccabi Tel Aviv dismantled Baskonia in the first game of the newly introduced EuroLeague Play-In Showdown, Anadolu Efes and Virtus Bologna put the absolute fight on the line for another game in Vitoria’s Fernando Buesa Arena, dreaming of the Playoff series against Real Madrid.

In a significantly balanced encounter between 9th and 10th-seeded teams in the standings, Virtus Bologna managed to break its seven-game losing streak in the EuroLeague, beating the Turkish team 67-64 on the road. Luca Banchi’s team hadn’t won away in the competition since January 5 against ALBA.

Iffe Lundberg had one of the most complete performances of his EuroLeague season, contributing with 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. He came up clutch once again with a huge three-pointer. “Mixed emotions, great atmosphere. Amazing game, I’m proud of my team. Really happy”, he said.

Tornike Shengelia led the black-and-white team in scoring with 13 points and 4 rebounds. “I’m proud of my teammates, my coaching staff, and the fans. We had to beat the two-time champs, and we did it. We did it all together. Next one is the same, it’s win or go home”, he commented.

Luca Banchi shared his satisfaction in the aftermath. “Proud of how my team played, we chose this as an opportunity to recruit our spirit. This is what we built through a very long season to be one win from the Playoffs”, Virtus Bologna’s head coach commented on his team’s victory.

With this victory, breaking Anadolu Efes‘ six-game winning streak behind his home walls that was on since January 26 against AS Monaco, Virtus Bologna will travel to Vitoria-Gasteiz to face Baskonia in the second game of this year’s Play-In Showdown.

Surpassing the 3.000-point mark in the EuroLeague, Will Clyburn couldn’t fully celebrate this accomplishment. The 2019 Final Four MVP scored his team’s first 17 points, ending with 22 on 6/12 from beyond the arc. Shane Larkin added a 16-point losing effort in Istanbul.

“It’s the Play-In, every possession counts the double. Offensively we weren’t that fluid. Our guys did an amazing job coming to this point, unfortunately it didn’t go our way”, Tomislav Mijatovic commented.


Virtus Bologna turned things around in Istanbul

Will Clyburn started the game by scoring Anadolu Efes‘ first 17 points, shooting 5/5 from beyond the arc. Ercan Osmani followed him with other six points, bringing the Turkish side up by 11 points (23-12) with 2:07 minutes on the clock in the first. Virtus Bologna reacted positively with Iffe Lundberg making an instant impact off the bench, reducing the gap to 23-21 heading to the second.

The Italian team’s 11-0 scoring run was interrupted by Elijah Bryant in transition at 7:44 in the second. Former Anadolu Efes forward Achille Polonara had two straight blocks on Dan Oturo down the stretch. Another familiar face in the Sinan Erdem Sports Hall made his presence felt with a block with 4:48 minutes on the clock before Awudu Abass could give his team the 28-27 lead.

Going at halftime only up by one point (36-35), Anadolu Efes started the second half the right way with seven straight points from Shane Larkin. Iffe Lundberg tied things up at 43-43 with a huge deep three midway through the third quarter, and Awudu Abass followed in the same way at 3:34 on the clock. Thanks to a great effort from Tibor Pleiss, Tomislav Mijatovic’s team entered the fourth up 50-48.

Keeping the intensity high also in the last ten minutes of this clash, Rodrigue Beaubois made his appearance felt with five consecutive points, including a three-point trip to the line. At 7:29 left, Alessandro Pajola tied with a clutch three at 55-55, followed by specialist and black-and-white captain Marco Belinelli. Picking up an unsportsmanlike foul, Elijah Bryant sent Awudu Abass to the line, giving his team the three-point lead (60-57).

The Italian side extended the scoring run to 9-0 (64-57) and left everything on the floor, including Alessandro Pajola’s blood on the face. Stopping Will Clyburn’s attempt with 2:00 minutes left, Awudu Abadd made a significant play for his team, while Dan Oturu missed both free throws with 1:34 on the clock. Tornike Shengelia grabbed the ball from Will Clyburn’s hands down the stretch, while Iffe Lundberg came up clutch once again for the six-point lead (67-61) in the last seconds.

PHOTO CREDIT: Virtus Segafredo Bologna

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