2018-19Regular SeasonRound 21
February 01, 2019 CET: 21:00
Local time: 20:00 GRAN CANARIA ARENA

Milan wins OT thriller in Gran Canaria

In a thriller that went down to the final shot of overtime, AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan recorded a critical road win by downing Herbalife Gran Canaria 104-106. Milan improved to 10-11 in the standings and ranks 9th overall, with the same wins as KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz. Gran Canaria ranks 14th with a 6-15 record and is on a six-game losing streak. Vladimir Micov led the winners with 24 points. Mike James and debutant James Nunnally each added 22 while Mindaugas Kuzminskas had 12 for Milan. Marcus Eriksson led Gran Canaria with 28 points. Clevin Hannah and Kim Tillie each added 12 while D.J. Strawberry had 10 for the hosts. A dramatic three-pointer by Eriksson sent the game to overtime, 89-89. Once in the extra period, Nunnally and Micov made sure Milan returned home with a good-as-gold road win.

James got Milan going with a fast break layup and Dairis Bertans added a three-pointer for a 1-5 lead. Luke Fischer banked in a close shot but free throws by Arturas Gudaitis and a triple by James boosted the guests' lead to 3-10. James followed free throws with a floater that made it a double-digit game, 6-17. Strawberry struck twice from downtown and Eriksson bettered James's jumper with a three-pointer that kept Gran Canaria within 15-19. Eriksson sank foul shots and a three-pointer by Eulis Baez tied it at 21-21. Micov and Anzejs Pasecniks traded baskets, and a deep three-pointer by Eriksson gave Gran Canaria a 28-27 lead after 10 minutes. Eriksson downed a floater early in the second quarter but Gudaitis followed a dunk with free throws to make Milan regain the lead, 30-31, soon before getting injured and leaving the game. Nunnally scored in penetration and Kuzminskas hit free throws but Oriol Pauli and Ondrej Balvin kept Gran Canaria within 34-35. Eriksson made back-to-back three-pointers and Hannah sank foul shots to restore a 42-37 margin. Siim Sander Vene and James scored around the basket and free throws by Xavi Rabaseda fixed the halftime score at 46-39. Micov, Rabaseda and James each struck from downtown soon after the break. Kuzminskas hit foul shots and dunked but three-pointers by Hannah and Tillie kept the hosts way ahead. Bertans joined the three-point shootout, Micov and Eriksson exchanged step-back jumpers and a turnaround shot by Albert Oliver restored a 64-55 Gran Canaria lead. Micov and Kuzminskas each had 4 points in a 0-10 run that allowed Milan to get the lead, 64-65. Strawberry and Eriksson exchanged triples for a 67-68 score after 30 minutes. A floater by Nunnally tied the game, 70-70, early in the fourth quarter. Balvin scored down low but a jumper by James and back-to-back dunks by Alen Omic put Milan back ahead, 72-76. Siim-Sander Vene and Nunnally traded triples and a layup by Omic made it 75-81. James fouled out but Micov and Nunnally kept the guests in charge, 80-85, with under 4 minutes left. Tillie made a power layup, Micov scored in penetration and a jumper by Pasecniks got Gran Canaria within 84-87. Hannah downed a jumper before Micov made two free throws with 18.7 seconds left, but an unbelievable three-pointer by Eriksson off one leg sent the game to overtime, 89-89, as Nunnally missed from downtown at the buzzer.

Hannah hit free throws early in overtime but Nunnally followed a layup with foul shots for a 91-94 Milan edge. Jeff Brooks did not miss from the foul line but a three-pointer by Hannah kept the hosts within 94-96. Nunnally scored in penetration, Balvin sank free throws and so did Kuzminskas for a 96-100 Milan lead with 1:08 left. Tillie made put-back layup before a three-pointer by Micov seemed to seal the outcome, 98-103. But Baez answered from downtown, Nunnally hit free throws and a three-pointer by Tillie kept Gran Canaria within 104-105 with 8.4 seconds left. The hosts fouled on Nunnally, who split attempts with 6.4 seconds remaining, but Eriksson missed from downtown at the buzzer as Milan held on.

Pivotal performer

James Nunnally made his EuroLeague return and tied his career-high with 22 points on very good shooting percentages: 5-of-8 two-point shots, 2-of-3 from downtown and 6-of-7 free throws. He scored 10 of Milan's 17 points in overtime. Nunnally added 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 fouls drawn for a PIR of 21.

Game-changing moment

Gran Canaria led 64-55 late in the third quarter and seemed to have full control of the game, but Micov and Kuzminskas each had 4 points in a 0-10 run that allowed Milan to regain the lead, 64-65. It was a balanced game the rest of the way.

Stellar stat

Despite losing Gudaitis midway through the game, Milan dominated the boards, outrebounding Gran Canaria by 29-46. Milan had 14 offensive rebounds and a season-high 32 defensive boards. Those 46 rebounds tie for the second-best mark in the EuroLeague this season - Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv had 50 rebounds against Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul on December 6, 2018.

Did you notice?

It was the highest scoring game of the season, with the teams combining for 210 points. It was also the 17th highest scoring game in EuroLeague history. Fortitudo Bologna and Panathinaikos Athens combined for 232 points in the highest-scoring game of all-time on January 14, 2004.

Next game

Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action next week: Gran Canaria visits Anadolu Efes Istanbul on Thursday, and a day later Milan hosts Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul.

Mike James - AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan - EB18
Friday, February 1, 2019
Attendance: 4697
By Quarter1234Extra 1
Herbalife Gran Canaria2818212215
AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan2712292117
End of Quarter1234Extra 1
Herbalife Gran Canaria28466789104
AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan27396889106
Herbalife Gran Canaria
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 OLIVER, ALBERT 14:25 2 1/4 0/1 0/1   1 1 5         2   1
5 HANNAH, CLEVIN 19:54 12 1/4 2/4 4/4   1 1 4   4     3 2 7
8 ERIKSSON, MARCUS 28:38 28 4/5 5/11 5/5   1 1 3         2 2 25
9 VENE, SIIM-SANDER 16:51 8 1/1 1/3 3/3   1 1   1       3 1 6
12 BALVIN, ONDREJ 14:53 6 1/1   4/4 1 4 5     2     1 4 12
13 BAEZ, EULIS 14:52 8 1/3 2/2             1     3 1 3
14 PASECNIKS, ANZEJS 22:31 9 4/7   1/5 5 1 6 2   1 1   4 6 12
21 PAULI, ORIOL 12:23 2 1/2 0/2         3   2     2   -2
22 RABASEDA, XAVIER 28:22 5 0/3 1/3 2/2 1 1 2 3 2     1 3 3 6
24 STRAWBERRY, DJ 19:12 10 0/1 3/6 1/2   3 3 3   2 1     1 11
40 FISCHER, LUKE 5:35 2 1/2               1 1   5   -4
41 TILLIE, KIM 27:24 12 3/4 2/4 0/1 2 4 6 1     1   3 2 15
Team             3 3               3
Totals 225:00 104 18/37 16/36 20/27 9 20 29 24 3 13 4 1 31 22 95
        48.6% 44.4% 74.1%
Head coach: GARCIA, VICTOR
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
00 DELLA VALLE, AMEDEO DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2 JAMES, MIKE 28:47 22 6/11 2/3 4/5 1 4 5 6 1     1 5 4 25
5 MICOV, VLADIMIR 39:14 24 6/9 2/7 6/7 1 3 4   1 1     2 5 22
7 GUDAITIS, ARTURAS 7:41 6 1/2   4/4 2 3 5 1     1 1 1 4 14
9 BERTANS, DAIRIS 11:06 6   2/2     2 2           2 2 8
19 KUZMINSKAS, MINDAUGAS 23:02 12 1/3 0/1 10/10 2 1 3   2 2   1 4 6 13
20 CINCIARINI, ANDREA 21:35   0/2     2 2 4     3     2 1 -2
21 NUNNALLY, JAMES 29:07 22 5/8 2/3 6/7   2 2 2   3     1 4 21
23 BURNS, CHRISTIAN 2:42   0/1     1 2 3           1   1
32 BROOKS, JEFF 34:27 4 1/2 0/1 2/2   8 8 2 2     1 2 1 12
55 JERRELLS, CURTIS 5:12 4 1/1 0/1 2/2           2     1 1 1
92 OMIC, ALEN 22:07 6 3/9   0/2 4 3 7 1   1     2 3 6
Team           1 2 3     2         1
Totals 225:00 106 24/48 8/18 34/39 14 32 46 12 6 14 1 4 23 31 122
        50% 44.4% 87.2%

Head Coaches

Herbalife Gran Canaria
"I just want to say that we did a lot of great things to deserve to win the game. It is really what I believe, from my heart. We did a lot of things right and that is what I take from the game – the way my players were involved, our level of effort and, above all, the mental strength to return several times to the game and believe in what we did in very complicated moments. We knew Milan is a great team and we were at the same level, matching their scoring skills and effort. We knew that they are a high-level physical team and they outrebounded us at some parts of the game, but I want to think about this game as a whole. It is hard to think about some minutes in such a long game with so many actions. I need to focus on each action and know why we did it but in general terms, we played with 12 players who offered a high level of effort, doing many positive things. They have just signed a top-class player, Nunnally, who was very important for them tonight. Not only they have a lot of scorers, they add players of this level. We knew we played against one of the most powerful teams in Europe but we were at the level to try to win the game."
AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan
"I think that my players' pride was the key to the game. We were in shock due to many problems that you could see, to see their teammate - Arturas Gudaitis, injured during the game - in the locker room like that, all our game plan had to change. We played without a big man for a big part of the second half, and also overtime, but we recovered and stayed together again. Many teams can accept losing this game, because Gran Canaria started the second half in the right way, scoring. We played better to lead in the final minutes and deserved to win in regular time – we forgot to foul but it was a strange, strange rebound in the final play (of regulation) and also a very, very difficult shot. One more time, all my players were tired and we didn't have many options but we played much better in overtime. For us, this is not just an important win for the standings or anything else, but because we overcame injuries and problems that we had. I am proud of my players because they showed great character and this, for us, is more important because when this terrible situation finishes, now or next season, we have a special group of players to build something great in the EuroLeague."


AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan
"It is a very important win for us because we lost against them in Milan and for us, it was a must-win game. We started the game very well but they came back in the end. During the first half, we lost our starting big man. He tore his ACL but, somehow, we still managed to play without him. At the end of the game, we played smart with two '4' men, found some easy shots and played much better on offense. We allowed them to take so many easy shots from three-point range. We allowed Eriksson to take wide open three-point shots and Gran Canaria to get too many offensive rebounds but in the end, after overtime, we really deserved this win. We are still in a good position to stay in the playoffs race. For example, in February, we have a pretty easy schedule, if I can say, against some teams that are behind us in the standings. If we manage to win those games, we will be in a good position and still compete."
AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan
"The first and the second half were a tale of two sides. The first half, we were letting them wherever they wanted. We made some adjustments in the second half, but they were still getting open shots and offensive rebounds, loads of things we can control. We have to be a team with a strong mentality, be a tough team and win games like this on the road. Any win is a good win. I just want to play. I want to play and I want to win. That's all."
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