Are you still wanting a distraction from the team? I am. Thankfully Hippo has sent in an update on Petteri Koponen.
The news on The Finnagler front is positive. Koponen's game on Finnish Independence Day was so fantastic that the Finns swarmed into the streets in spontaneous Finnish celebration . You can watch highlights of Koponen from the game here (You can also use the video to play a game of "Spot Luke Jackson," which is always fun). Itsenäisyyspäivä!
Finland declared her independence on December 6, 1917, parting from Russian Empire and beginning its long journey to become a modern western welfare state. It's been 92 years since that day and because Finnish point guard Petteri Koponen couldn't celebrate Itsenäisyyspäivä in his home country, he had to deal with some fireworks of his own.
Koponen netted his Italian Serie A record, 24 points, in Virtus Bologna's convincing 73-90 (43-40) victory over home town Carife Ferrara last Sunday night. Koponen drained three out of five two-point field goal attempts and whopping six out of eight long range shots to become the MVP of the night.
Koponen started the game red hot, sinking his first five field goal attempts while taking Bologna to a 21-26 lead in first quarter. Ferrara managed to keep Koponen in check in the second quarter and bounce to a 43-40 halftime lead with some help from Luke Jackson and Anthony Grundy, while out-hustling and out-rebounding Bologna along the way.
Virtus came back persisent after the half. David Moss kept things going for Virtus and tougher defensive approach helped Virtus to take a 57-62 lead in the middle of third quarter. In the next four minutes, Koponen sank his fourth and fifth trey of the night while Georgian big man Viktor Sanikidze hustled inside for eight points, taking Bologna to 62-76 lead.
In the fourth quarter, Ferrara attempted a comeback, but managed to sink only 29.2 percent of their three-pointers, while Virtus maintained a comfortable lead. Koponen netted his sixth three-pointer with just under two minutes to go to put Virtus up 69-87.
After last week's subpar performance at home against Pepsi Caserta, Virtus managed to play 30 minutes of tough, defensive-lead team basketball while Koponen bounced back after his poor shooting night. Virtus has won six out of its first nine games and is currently tied for the third spot in Serie A with Angelico Biella, Armani Jeans Milano and Air Avellino.
Next week, Virtus hit the road again and meet NGC Cantu in a late Saturday night game. Cantu is currently holding the eighth spot of Serie A standings. Cantu's key players are experienced Italian point guard Nicolas Mazzarino, Americans Jerry Green, Maarten Leunen and Othuys Jeffers, talented Georgian guard Manuchar Markoishvili and Austrian center Benjamin Ortner.
Carife Ferrara-Virtus Bologna 73-90 (21-26, 43-40, 57-65)
Ferrara: Luke Jackson 18/6, Anthony Grundy 17/1, Harold Jamison 8/8. Virtus: David Moss 24/6/3 STL, Petteri Koponen 24/1, Viktor Sanikidze 11/3.
Petteri Koponen: 34 MIN, 24 PTS, 3-5 2PT, 6-8 3PT, 1 REB, 1 STL, 2 TO, Pf 3 Start * (+23)