Virtus Romp After Third-Quarter Burst


Virtus Bologna set up a dream title game for Italian fans at the EuroChallenge Final Four after rolling to an 83-69 home triumph over Proteas EKA AEL on Friday night at the FuturShow Station.

The Cypriot club gave Virtus fits for a half but Matteo Boniciolli's team pulled away for a decisive victory and will now face Cholet Basket for the championship.

Sharrod Ford had 18 points and 13 rebounds for Virtus, who dominated the boards.

They finished with 44 to just 31 for Miroslav Nikolic's team.

Guilherme, the Virtus captain, had a game-high 15 rebounds to go with his 10 points.

Virtus have entered the EuroChallenge fully focused and determined to claim a title in front of their own fans.

They almost pulled off the feat in the Coppa Italia earlier this year before falling by just one point to Montepaschi Siena.

Virtus scored the last five points of the first half against Proteas for a 39-34 lead and then blew the game wide open in the third quarter when they increased the intensity on defense.

Leading 44-40, a three-pointer by Brett Blizzard sparked an 18-4 run.

After Italian veteran Roberto Chiacig of Virtus and LaVelle Blanchard of Proteas exchanged lay-ups, Reshawn Terry sank a jump shot for the Italians.

Blizzard and Ford then each made two free throws before a dunking contest broke out.

Ford caught a pass from Terry and dunked with two hands and Virtus captain Guilherme caught a pass in transition from Earl Boykins and threw down a one-handed slam.

Blanchard reacted quickly and dunked with authority for Proteas but Ford had the last say.

After splitting a pair of free throws, he dunked with two hands to cap the run and leave the home fans celebrating a 62-44 advantage.

 Virtus were able to cruise home in the fourth quarter with Proteas getting no closer than 13.

Keith Langford had 13 points and Boykins 15 - 11 in the second half.

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