2020-21Regular SeasonRound 28
March 05, 2021 CET: 19:00
Local time: 20:00 ZALGIRIO ARENA

Shields, Punter lead Milan in Kaunas

AX Armani Exchange Milan returned to winning ways in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season by topping Zalgiris Kaunas 64-69 on the road on Friday. Milan improved to 18-10 in the standings and registered its eighth road victory in the current EuroLeague campaign. Zalgiris dropped to 15-13 and saw its seven-game home win streak ended. Shavon Shields led the winners with 23 points. Kevin Punter added 14 while Kyle Hines and Luigi Datome each had 10 for Milan. Marius Grigonis led Zalgiris with 17 points. Joffrey Lauvergne added 15 while Lukas Lekavicius had 11 for the hosts. Punter had 9 first-quarter points to give Milan a 13-17 lead after 10 minutes. Zalgiris got within 32-34 at halftime but Milan improved its defense after the break, boosting its margin to 45-50 at the end of the third quarter. Grigonis and Lekavicius brought Zalgiris within 62-64 but Punter downed a jumper and Shields added 3-of-4 free throws to seal the victory.

Punter got Milan going with a jumper, getting help from Kyle Hines and Shields for a 2-6 lead. Lauvergne followed a layup with a three-point play and Grigonis improved Punter's basket with a three-pointer to tie it at 10-10. Hines scored down low and Punter struck from downtown in a 0-7 Milan run that Shields capped with a jumper to make Zalgiris call timeout at 10-17. Grigonis hit a floater but Sergio Rodriguez's layup restored a 13-19 Milan lead after 10 minutes. Rodriguez fed Kaleb Tarczewski for a dunk and added a driving layup to make it a double-digit game, 13-23. Karolis Lukosiunas buried a triple and Augustine Rubit followed Grigonis's floater with a jumper but Luigi Datome and Hines kept Milan way ahead, 20-28. Rubit and Lauvergne each scored down low before Punter and Shields hit one apiece from beyond the arc for a 24-34 Milan margin. Rubit and Grigonis combined for 6 points in a 0-8 run that Lauvergne capped with a reverse layup to bring Zalgiris within 32-34 at halftime. Shields downed a jumper, Jeremy Evans added a tip-in and Michael Roll struck from downtown as 34-41 Milan surged ahead after the break. Nigel Hayes rescued Zalgiris with a jumper and a three-pointer but Shields singlehandedly restored a 39-46 Milan edge. Datome hit a triple before Rokas Jokubaitis and Lekavicius gave Zalgiris plenty of hope, 45-50, after 30 minutes. Lekavicius downed a jump hook and found Paulius Jankunas for a layup that got the hosts even closer, 49-52. Shields nailed a three-pointer and got help from Datome to give Milan fresh air at 49-57. Grigonis and Lekavicius each struck from beyond the arc but Hines answered with a layup for a 55-59 score. Datome bettered Lekavicius's layup with a corner triple, Lauvergne and Hines traded layups and Grigonis struck from downtown for a 62-64 score with 2 minutes left. Punter hit a critical jumper, Lauvergne scored in the paint and Zalgiris sent Shields to the foul line with 20.1 seconds remaining. He hit both attempts to make sure of the Milan victory.

Pivotal performer

Shavon Shields was consistent throughout the game and made the difference from the foul line down the stretch. He finished the game with 23 points, making 5 of 8 two-pointers and 3 of 6 triples, adding 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 7 fouls drawn for a game-high PIR of 27.

Game-changing moment

Zalgiris managed to get within 62-64 with 2 minutes left. Milan needed a go-to guy and Punter stepped up with a mid-range jumper that made it a four-point game, 62-66, with 50.4 seconds left. Shields hit 3-of-4 free throws in crunch time to make sure Milan returned home with a win.

Stellar stat

Simply put, Milan shot the ball better in Kaunas. Milan downed 19 of 35 two-point shots (54.3%) and 8 of 19 from downtown (42.1%). It kept Zalgiris way below its usual percentages: the hosts hit 18 of 42 two-pointers (42.9%) and 6 of 16 triples (37.5%).

Did you know?

Kyle Hines became the second player to reach 250 blocks in his Turkish Airlines EuroLeague career. He reached the milestone with 3:38 left in the game, blocking Joffrey Lauvergne's attempt. Hines also climbed to second place in the all-time standings, going past Fran Vazquez (249). Bryant Dunston of Anadolu Efes Istanbul leads with 267 career blocks.

Next game

Both teams return to EuroLeague action next week. Milan visits CSKA Moscow on Thursday, March 11 in what is the 20th meeting between them since their rivalry started in the 1966 EuroLeague semifinals. One night later, Zalgiris plays on the road against Anadolu Efes Istanbul.

Kevin Punter - AX Armani Exchange Milan - EB20
Friday, March 5, 2021
Euroleague.net
Referees: CHRISTODOULOU, CHRISTOS; NEDOVIC, MILAN; KOWALSKI, MARCIN
Attendance: 0
By Quarter1234
Zalgiris Kaunas13191319
AX Armani Exchange Milan19151619
End of Quarter1234
Zalgiris Kaunas13324564
AX Armani Exchange Milan19345069
Zalgiris Kaunas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 WALKUP, THOMAS 28:19   0/3 0/2   2 2 4 4 1 2     3 2 1
1 BLAZEVIC, MAREK DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4 LEKAVICIUS, LUKAS 17:32 11 3/5 1/2 2/3 1   1 3   1     3 2 9
10 HAYES, NIGEL 26:29 7 2/5 1/3   1 2 3     1   1 3 1 1
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS 12:45 2 1/4       3 3 1   1     2 1 1
16 LUKOSIUNAS, KAROLIS 3:00 3   1/2             1     1 1 1
23 GEBEN, MARTINAS 1:16                 1       1    
24 RUBIT, AUGUSTINE 28:01 6 3/6   0/1   3 3 1   2     1 4 7
31 JOKUBAITIS, ROKAS 22:48 3 0/2 0/1 3/6 1 2 3 3         1 5 7
32 VASTURIA, STEVE DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
40 GRIGONIS, MARIUS 32:43 17 3/6 3/6 2/2 1 4 5 1   2 1   3 2 15
77 LAUVERGNE, JOFFREY 27:07 15 6/11   3/3 3 6 9 3 2 1   1 1 3 24
Team           3 1 4     2         2
Totals 200:00 64 18/42 6/16 10/15 12 23 35 16 4 13 1 2 19 21 68
        42.9% 37.5% 66.7%
Head coach: SCHILLER, MARTIN
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 Milan
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 PUNTER, KEVIN 30:25 14 4/6 2/3     1 1 4 2 1     2 4 19
5 MICOV, VLADIMIR 6:27   0/1   0/2   1 1     1     1 1 -3
9 MORASCHINI, RICCARDO DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
10 ROLL, MICHAEL 25:02 4 0/2 1/3 1/2   1 1 3   1     2 1 1
13 RODRIGUEZ, SERGIO 18:11 4 2/3 0/4     1 1 1   2     2   -3
15 TARCZEWSKI, KALEB 7:19 2 1/1     1 1 2   1 1     3 1 2
19 BILIGHA, PAUL 1:31         1   1               1
31 SHIELDS, SHAVON 32:14 23 5/8 3/6 4/6   4 4 2         1 7 27
32 BROOKS, JEFF 19:45   0/1       3 3 1         1   2
40 EVANS, JEREMY 10:04 2 1/2     1 3 4   1 2     4    
42 HINES, KYLE 31:10 10 5/8   0/2 2 5 7 2   3 2 1 2 3 13
70 DATOME, LUIGI 17:52 10 1/3 2/3 2/2 2 3 5   1 1     3 1 10
Team           1   1     1          
Totals 200:00 69 19/35 8/19 7/14 8 23 31 13 5 13 2 1 21 18 69
        54.3% 42.1% 50%
Head coach: MESSINA, ETTORE

Head Coaches

SCHILLER, MARTIN
Zalgiris Kaunas
"First, congratulations to Milan for winning the game. To me, we made very good efforts on the defensive end. I'm pretty satisfied with the defensive end of this game, and that was very important for us. Milan is a very good offensive team, ranking fourth in the league in offense. It was important for us to be tight defensively. I'm happy about the job that the guys did. Offensively, often it comes down to making or missing shots. We missed quite a few 'bunnies'. I think we were in the 40s in two-point percentage. And without watching video, I felt like there was a lot under the rim [that we missed]. It took us a while to make some shots there. Also free throws, uncharacteristically, we shot them below [our] percentage. So, sometimes making the shots is the difference. Respect to our guys for the effort, but at the end of the day it didn't give us anything because a win is a win and a loss is a loss."
MESSINA, ETTORE
AX Armani Exchange Milan
"I am extremely happy. We beat a very, very good team. In my opinion, one of the best-coached teams in all the league. They are very disciplined, they execute well on offense with a lot of movement. Defensively, they are aggressive for 40 minutes and they force turnovers. I think we made some very good plays down the stretch but our defense in the second half was, I think, at the level that needed to be for a team that wants to be in the playoffs. So it is an important win for us. We have six more games and need to keep going and see where we will be at the end. I am fortunate to have these experienced, high-level players who decided to come and play in Milan. I am very fortunate. I have a good team not only basketball-wise but in terms of personality and leadership. And even in a situation where we missed our starting point guard and Zach LeDay, who is an important piece of this team, they worked like crazy and we won a very important game."

Players

SHIELDS, SHAVON
AX Armani Exchange Milan
"We gave up 100 points in our last game against Fenerbahce, so we knew that defense is the key. With four weeks left in the regular season, every game is a playoffs game. The standings are super close, so we have to lock in every single game down the stretch. Everybody made plays. We were moving the ball and getting shots and getting stops, so it was a whole team effort, which helped us win. Every game is a must-win game now."
HINES, KYLE
AX Armani Exchange Milan
"Like Shavon said, a couple of days before we gave up 100 points and we knew that we were better than that defensively. So we wanted to come out and prove it and re-establish ourselves as a defensive team. That has to be our identity moving forward, especially in these last remaining games if we want to secure a playoffs spot and want to move forward in the rest of this league."
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