Micov, James lead Milan past Baskonia
AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milano improved to 6-2 by downing KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 93-90 at home on Wednesday. Vladimir Micov led the winners with 22 points. Mike James tallied 20 points and 8 assists, Curtis Jerrells scored 13 and Jeff Brooks posted 12 points and 7 rebounds for Milan. Vincent Poirier and Matt Janning led Baskonia with 18 points apiece. Poirier collected 10 rebounds for a double-double. Luca Vildoza added 15 points and Marcelinho Huertas 10 for the visitors.
Micov and James combined for 9 quick points to give Milan an early 11-6 lead. Toko Shengelia hit a jump hook, Vildoza added a floater and an outstanding Poirier scored three times around the basket to keep Baskonia within 18-16. Arturas Gudaitis and Micov stepped up for the hosts, but Poirier got help from Patricio Garino and Janning to keep Baskonia close, 27-26, after 10 minutes. A jumper by Janning gave the visitors the lead early in the second quarter. Brooks and Jerrells each hit a triple. Free throws by Gudaitis gave Milan fresh air at 35-30. Jerrells and Brooks insisted from downtown and Dairis Bertans added another one that made it a double-digit game, 44-34. Shengelia followed a layup with a dunk in a 0-9 run highlighted by Darrun Hilliard's three-point play to make it 44-43. Brooks nailed another three-pointer to fix the halftime score at 47-43. James followed a corner triple with a drive that capped an 8-0 run. Janning and Johannes Voigtmann tried to change things for Baskonia and Vildoza struck from downtown to give the visitors hope at 56-50. James and Micov kept pacing Milan, but Shengelia and Vildoza answered for a 66-60 score. Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Micov allowed Milan to keep a 73-68 edge after 30 minutes. Huertas and Janning took over early in the fourth quarter, bringing Baskonia within 77-75. Jerrells and James each connected from beyond the arc and a three-point play by Brooks gave Milan an 88-79 margin with over three minutes left. Hilliard and Vildoza buried a triple apiece, but a free throw by James gave Milan an 89-85 margin with 1:16 left. Vildoza hit a jumper only to see Jerrells seal the outcome from the foul line.
James did a little bit of everything against his former team, scoring 16 of his 20 points in the second half. He dished 8 assists and pulled down a couple of rebounds to finish the game with a performance index rating of 20.
With the game on the line, 89-97, Jerrells hit free throws and Brooks had a critical block on Shengelia and that defensive stop gave Milan the ball back. Jerrells returned to the foul line, was perfect again and sealed the outcome with 8 seconds remaining
Three-point shots and free throws made the difference in this game. Milan hit 14 of 30 three-pointers (46.7%) while limiting Baskonia to 8 of 23 (34.8%). Baskonia dominated inside (64.6% 2FG, Milan 53.1%) but it was not enough for the Spanish powerhouse.
Did you notice?
Baskonia hit just 4 of 11 free throws (36.4%); that is the team's lowest free throw shooting percentage in EuroLeague history. Shengelia missed all 6 of his attempts from the foul line.
Both teams return to EuroLeague action on Friday. Milan visits FC Barcelona Lassa, while Baskonia hosts Panathinaikos OPAP Athens.
Wednesday, November 21, 2018