Adecco ASVEL Lyon fought bravely and pushed Virtus Bologna to the limit but the Italian league leaders edged their EuroCup showdown on Tuesday.
Having destroyed Amsterdam Astronauts one week ago, Virtus lost for the first time in Lega A to Benetton Treviso on Sunday but French outfit ASVEL were unable to duplicate that feat and went down to a 76-70 defeat.
This is a very impressive win for Virtus, who went into battle without three important players.
“It has been a very difficult match against a good a titled
European team," said Virtus coach Zare Markovski.
"The most important for us was win, after the defeat
against Benetton Treviso in Italian league."
Fabio Di Bella is to miss four months after back surgery that is scheduled for Monday while his fellow Italian international Andrea Michelori hasn't played since the start of the season due to injury.
Travis Best, their American playmaker, hurt his back last week against Amsterdam and though he played on Sunday, he was unable to take the court against ASVEL.
The key sequence in this contest came after ASVEL had just closed to 71-70 on a Rowan Barrett three-pointer.
Zare Markovski's team went to the other end at the Palamalaguti and with 52 seconds left, Ntousan Tsalikis-Vouktsevits drilled a three-ball to take the lead back to four.
ASVEL called timeout to discuss their strategy, and when play resumed, the clock ticked down to 31 seconds before Yohann David Sangare attempted another shot from the arc that missed.
Brett Blizzard grabbed the rebound for Virtus, and Tsalikis-Vouktsevits added another basket for the final scoreline. He finished with a team-high 17 points while Drejer had 13.
"I’m satisfied with all my players and I think that the forth quarter has been our best moment," said Markovski.
Chevon Troutman scored a game-high 21 points in defeat for ASVEL, and Vincent Masingue weighed in with 16.
The game was even throughout, and ASVEL held their last lead at 55-54 after Masingue scored on a jumper with 5:42 remaining in the third quarter to take his points haul to 11.
Virtus went back in front to stay when Christian Drejer sank a pair of free throws with 47 seconds to go in the third quarter to make it 62-60.
ASVEL had looked as if they were about to open a big advantage before half-time when Roel Moors scored to stretch their lead to 41-32.
However, Ilian Evtimov made back-to-back three-pointers and Blizzard laid one up and in for an 8-0 surge that brought Virtus to within one.
They ended up trailing 45-44 at the break and then did just enough in the second half to prevail.