Simon leads Milan past ALBA, into eighthfinals
Krunoslav Simon scored a Eurocup career-high 28 points, leading EA7 Emporio Armani Milan to a come-from-behind 92-79 win over ALBA Berlin, and clinching of first place in Group J on Wednesday night. With fourth consecutive win Milan improved to 4-1, winning the first place, while ALBA dropped to 2-3 record, the same as Neptunas Klaipeda and Aris Thessaloniki. However, ALBA will go through to the eighthfinals if it beats Neptunas on home floor next week. ALBA used a strong start to go up by 11 points in the first quarter, but Milan rallied before halftime, held 47-45 lead at the break, then ran away in the third quarter and never looked back. Simon added 6 rebounds to his tally, Jamel McLean contributed with 13 points, Rakim Sanders scored 12, while Oliver Lafayette had 10 points, 4 assists and 4 steals for Milan. Kresimir Loncar scored 20 points in 19 minutes for ALBA. Alex King netted 16, Will Cherry had 13 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Elmedin Kikanovic and Robert Lowery each scored 10 in the losing effort.
ALBA started off strong, with King hitting a three-pointer in a 0-9 run that Loncar capped to make it 4-12. Simon snapped the run, and Lafayette hit a triple for the hosts, but King scored a fastbreak basket, followed it with a three-pointer, before Loncar’s triple made it 11-22 after 7 minutes. Sanders and Cherry traded triples. Lowery scored twice for ALBA, but three-pointers from Charles Jenkins and McLean in the final 95 seconds of the quarter helped Milan cut it to 24-29 after 10 minutes. Sanders scored 5 points, including a triple in a 7-0 run that tied it at 31-31 early in the second. Simon also hit from long range for Milan, but Lowery, Loncar and King kept the visitors with slim lead, 35-39. King hit a his third three-pointer in as many attempts, but Simon answered with a two, Andrea Cinciarini nailed a three, before another basket from Simon, and one from Stanko Barac gave Milan 47-45 at halftime.
Lafayette scored on a fast break, and Cinciarini hit a three for Milan, but Kikanovic scored twice for ALBA. However, Simon’s triple and McLean’s three-point play fueled a 10-1 run that opened 62-50 margin. Simon again, and Sanders on a breakaway extended it to 67-52. Kings three-pointer late in the third, and Loncar’s basket-plus-foul at the start of the fourth cut it to 69-60. ALBA got within 7 points, but Simon’s three-pointer opened 74-64 with 5:47 to go. After a timeout, Lowery hit a three-pointer, but Milan Macvan and Simon extended it to 78-67. ALBA got closer again through Kikanovic, and a triple from Cherry cut it to 80-74, but back-to-back threes from Macvan and Simon iced the game.
Wednesday, February 3, 2016