UNICS races past Milan to snap leader’s win streak
UNICS Kazan used a three-point barrage and a tough defense to hand league leader AX Armani Exchange Milan its second loss of the season with a 97-71 rout at home. UNICS tied a club record by draining 14 triples in winning its fourth game in the last five for a 5-5 record. UNICS put together a 25-7 run in the second quarter to build a 14-point lead and then put the game away with a 20-7 surge in the third quarter to lead by 22 points. Isaiah Canaan knocked down 6 three-pointers in scoring a team-high 22 points in the win while OJ Mayo made 5 triples for 20 points and John Brown added 19 points in the win over what was the league’s top defense coming into the contest. Milan saw its three-game winning streak end in dropping to 8-2. Luigi Datome, Shavon Shields and Nicolo Melli all scored 10 points to lead Milan in scoring.
In the 5,000th game in the EuroLeague modern era, Shields started the scoring for the guests with a jumper. After Lorenzo Brown scored UNICS’s first points with free throws, Shields drained a three-pointer before Devon Hall made it 4-9 early. John Brown started hot with a jumper and three-pointer to get UNICS within 9-11. Kyle Hines put Milan up 11-15, but the league leaders went scoreless for nearly 3 minutes and John Brown pushed his early total to 9 points and Tonye Jekiri added a dunk in an 8-0 spurt for a 19-15 advantage. The score was 19-17 after 10 minutes.
Mayo was on fire to start the second quarter with 3 straight three-pointers - the fourth ending in a four-point play - as UNICS opened a 30-19 advantage. Troy Daniels countered from deep, but Canaan punched back with 2 three-pointers of his own as the cushion swelled to 36-22. Milan started to score a bit more consistently though a third Canaan triple made it 41-28. Datome answered with 5 straight points and the deficit was into single figures 41-33. But the hosts went into the break with a 44-33 lead.
Hines opened the second half and Shields hit a three-pointer to trim the gap to 46-38. John Brown came up with a three-point play at the other end and Canaan and Mario Hezonja splashed home triples as the hosts went ahead by 17 points. Sergio Rodriguez made a three-pointer for Milan, but Canaan answered right back from deep and Mayo also drained a triple and the margin was 69-47. The score was 71-49 after 30 minutes.
Jarrell Brantley opened the fourth quarter with a big dunk and-one and John Brown’s steal and dunk gave UNICS a 76-49 margin. Hall’s three-pointer was answered right back from Canaan from the outside. UNICS added an 11-0 run to increase the advantage to 95-60 with less than 4 minutes to play to end any doubts.
Career high night for UNICS trio
This game was historic for a trio of UNICS players who all registered career-highs. Isaiah Canaan’s 22 points topped the 21 points he had scored against FC Bayern Munich earlier this season. Canaan’s 6 three-pointers tied a club record in the EuroLeague. OJ Mayo poured in 20 points, which was a massive improvement on his best game as he totaled 15 points in his first five games with the team. And John Brown also set a new career-best with 19 points. Brown had collected 14 points in UNICS’s game against Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz.
Melli one of few bright spots
There were not a lot of bright spots for the losing side in such a blowout loss. Nicolo Melli had gone the last three games without scoring in double figures and he netted 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting and 2-of-2 free throws. The veteran also grabbed 3 rebounds to go with 1 assist and 2 steals. And he didn’t commit a single turnover in 23 minutes. All that gave him a performance index rating of 18.
UNICS with no problem against top defense
AX Armani Exchange Milan came into the game with the top-ranked defense, having allowed just 67.9 points a game and keeping opponents to just 28.2% shooting on three-pointers. UNICS did not get the notice as it poured in 97 points and drained 14 of 29 three-pointers (48.3%). UNICS also dominated on the glass with 39 rebounds to 18, leading to a 20 to 2 advantage in second-chance points. Milan also held Milan to just 29.6% shooting from three-point range in the game.
Wednesday, November 17, 2021