Resilient Bayern holds off Virtus for 91-84 win
Bayern Munich boosted its hopes of reaching the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs after a rock-solid all-round performance helped it to a 91-84 home win over Virtus Segafredo Bologna. However, the German side’s victory was marred by what looks like a serious leg injury to Elias Harris. Both teams are now on a 9-12 record as the battle to squeeze into the Top 8 intensifies.
Augustine Rubit paced the home side with 18 points, while Cassius Winston added 15 and Nick Weiler-Babb chipped in with 10 to underline a wonderful team effort, with 11 of Bayern’s 12 players getting on the scoresheet. At the other end, Milos Teodosic stood out for Virtus with 14 points and 9 assists, having surpassed the milestone of 3,000 points in the EuroLeague. Isia Cordinier also had 14 points and Daniel Hackett, who also limped off injured in the third quarter but returned to action early in the fourth, scored 12 for the visitors.
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Bayern led throughout a rugged contest and never looked back after carving out an early 15-7 lead, as Winston pulled the strings in the opening exchanges. Yet, the home side lost Harris late in the first quarter after he collided with an opponent in the paint, as they both fell to the ground. He had to be helped off the court by teammates and staff.
The hosts then lost some of their momentum as Virtus slashed the deficit to 22-18 at the end of the first quarter, but quickly regained its composure with Rubit stepping up to give the hosts a 41-30 lead shortly before halftime, when he nailed a pair of tough mid-range shots. Driven by Teodosic, who dished out assists like presents after he came off the bench, Virtus stayed in touch and was able to reduce the arrears to 43-38 at halftime.
The visitors were breathing down Bayern’s necks when they were only 48-45 down, although they suffered an injury scare in the third quarter when Hackett limped off after he landed awkwardly in the opposition’s paint. Bayern took full advantage as it moved up a gear and led 66-55 at the end of the third quarter, before Hackett bounced back early in the fourth having shrugged off the pain.
Virtus battled hard to get back into the game, but the writing was on the wall for the visitors when Bayern engineered a 14-point lead, 76-62, its biggest of the night. Three-pointers by Hackett and Teodosic ignited some faint hopes for Virtus that it could stage what would have amounted to a spectacular comeback, but the Italian outfit ran out of time as Bayern held on for an important win.