Dentmon's game-winner lifts Zalgiris over Milan
Justin Dentmon scored the game-winner with 3.9 seconds remaining as Zalgiris Kaunas held off EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 73-71 at Zalgiris Arena on Friday night. The win improved Zalgiris to 3-4 in Group B, while Milan dropped to 4-3, but held the potential head-to-head tiebreaker because of its 7-point win in their Round 2 game. Zalgiris built a 15-point lead in the second quarter, but Milan rallied in the fourth quarter and got the first tie of the second half, 71-71 with 26 seconds to go. But Dentmon banked in a clutch shot and Vytenas Lipkevicius stole the ensuing inbound pass to seal thecrucial win for the Lithuanian champions. Dentmon finished with 15 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds, while Martynas Pocius scored 13 points in victory. Tadas Klimavicius added 9 points and Paulius Jankunas grabbed 11 rebounds along with 6 points. For Milan, Keith Langford had 29 points plus 6 rebounds, David Moss netted 12, while Alessandro Gentile scored 11 in defeat.
First quarter: A see-saw battle for starters
Both sides got a lot of its players involved offensively early on. Gentile started the scoring with a runner, but Dentmon drew a foul behind the arc and made all 3 free throws to score the first points for the hosts. After a C.J. Wallace layup, Pocius sank a triple for Zalgiris, but Langford answered with a short jumper to tie it at 6-6. Jankunas scored a layup, before Curtis Jerrells hit the first three-pointer for Milan. After a floater from Lipkevicius made it 10-9, Gentile continued the early see-saw battle with a drive to the hoop. Zalgiris took 14-11 lead with baskets from Likpevicius and Dentmon, before both teams got a few defensive stops and forced a couple of turnovers. A jump shot from Langford snapped the scoring drought, and Moss added a baseline jumper to put Milan back in front, before Tomas Dimsa drove the length of the floor for a buzzer-beating layup, and a 17-17 tie, at the end of the first quarter.
Second quarter: Zalgiris pulls away with 12-0 run
Pocius assisted Klimavicius for a monster dunk to start the second quarter, then drove to the hoop himself on a fastbreak for a 21-17 lead. After a timeout, 3 free throws from Ksistof Lavrinovic, a jumper from Sarunas Jasikevicius, and an alley-oop basket from Klimavicius made it 29-17. Milan scored its first points, a free throw from Langford, almost five minutes into the quarter, but a fastbreak layup from Pocius made it a 15-1 run to start the quarter, and forced another timeout from visiting coach Luca Banchi. Nicolo Melli snapped a seven-minute drought with a dunk-plus-foul, and Jerrells followed it up with a three-pointer to make it 33-24. Pocius scored from close range, but on the other end Gentile hit a long two, and Langford a three, 35-29. In the final minute of the first half, Lipkevicius drove the baseline for a tough reverse layup, before Langford's layup cut it to 39-31 at halftime.
Third quarter: Hosts protect modest advantage
Melli opened the third quarter from close range, but Dentmon answered right back from long range. Langford and Lavrinovic traded layups, before a reverse layup from Moss cut it to 44-37. A series of layups continued with one from Klimavicius and another easy one from Moss. After Langford scored in a crowd to make it 48-41, Samardo Samuels dunked. Vytenis Cizauskas and Langford traded shots from downtown, 51-46. But Jasikevicius sank a three-pointer, too, then threw a pass for a Robertas Javtokas alley-oop dunk and a 10-point lead. Before the quarter’s end, Langford drove for a layup, but Pocius scored on a breakaway as Zalgiris entered the final 10 minutes with 60-50 lead.
Fourth quarter: Zalgiris holds off Milan with Dentmon’s game-winner
Wallace scored the first layup of the fourth quarter, before Jankunas and Cizauskas scored uncontested layups for the hosts to make it 64-52. Moss scored 6 points on consecutive possessions, a basket-plus-foul followed by a three-pointer, and Gentile added a driving layup to get within 66-60 midway through the quarter. Klimavicius gave the hosts more breathing room with a layup, and then made a big block on Wallace. But Jerrells and Gentile hit from behind the arc to help Milan come within 71-69, and Wallace made both free throws with 26 seconds to go to tie the game at 71-71. But Dentmon made a driving layup with 3.9 seconds to go. Milan had a chance for last possession, but Lipkevicius stole the inbound pass to seal Zalgiris’s win.
Friday, November 29, 2013