EA7 Milan tops Laboral for second straight home win
EA7 Emporio Armani Milan held off a late Laboral Kutxa Vitoria charge for an 83-76 victory at Mediolanum Forum in the fashion capital on Friday night. The hosts led a 16-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle down to 4 before Keith Langford and Daniel Hackett free throws helped seal a second straight home win. Milan improved to 2-1 in Top 16 Group E, while dropping Laboral to 1-2 in the group. Milan never trailed, thanks in part to an excellent three-point shooting night; Hackett, David Moss and Curtis Jerrells sank 3 threes apiece and the team as a whole made half of its 20 attempts. Jerrells and Langford led the Milan attack with 16 points each, Hackett netted 14, Moss 12 and Alessandro Gentile 10. Andres Nocioni, who was instrumental in Vitoria’s fourth-quarter comeback, scored 18 points in defeat. Tibor Pleiss added 14 and Lamont Hamilton and David Jelinek scored 12 each.
First quarter: Langford leads Milan to strong start
The visitors won the opening tip and struck first through Pleiss. Samardo Samuels countered with the first 4 points for Milan before Gentile capped an 8-2 start. Hackett and Nocioni traded threes before Samuels muscled his way inside to make it 13-7. Langford got on the scoreboard with a three-pointer. Pleiss kept Vitoria in the picture with his sixth point. Gentile and Thomas Heurtel traded baskets. David Jelinek narrowed the gap to 3 with free throws and a layup. Moss beat the 24-second clock with a triple, but Adam Hanga matched him. Langford drove hard to the basket for a layup before beating the first-quarter buzzer for a circus-shot layup and foul to make it 26-18.
Second quarter: Hosts pump advantage into double digits
Hamilton split free throws for the first point of the second quarter. Jerrells connected from behind the arc to give Milan a double-digit lead. Moss further bolstered the lead with a triple. After Hamilton split free throws, Fabien Causeur drilled a three. Moss drained a pair of free throws before some crisp passing left Jerrells open for a triple and a 39-25 advantage. Nocioni used a nifty move to score from the post and Pleiss created a highlight with a two-handed jam. Heurtel’s basket closed the gap to 41-31. Langford whipped a pretty pass into Gani Lawal for a slam to keep Milan in control. Jerrells and Causeur traded shots from the charity stripe. Fernando San Emeterio sank a three from the corner before C.J. Wallace free throws left the hosts ahead 48-38 at the half.
Third quarter: EA7 remains comfortable ahead
Langford went inside for a tip-in before Hackett scored twice to give the hosts a 16-point edge. Three minutes of play passed before Nocioni’s three marked the first points of the second half for Vitoria. Samuels rejected Nocioni to the delight of the crowd. Hamilton connected from behind the arc, however the hosts continued attacking and Hackett sank a three. Langford free throws put the hosts up 17. Pleiss scored twice and Hamilton added free throws to bring Vitoria within 63-50 at the end of the quarter.
Fourth quarter: Nocioni sparks Vitoria, Hackett saves Milan
Hamilton went inside to trim the difference, but Moss bettered him with a triple. Jerrells bounced a pass to Melli to restore a comfortable lead. Hamilton countered with a three, but Jerrells matched him to make it 71-55. Nocioni scored twice to keep Vitoria alive before Heurtel’s basket-plus foul trimmed the difference to 11. Nocioni remained a force as he rejected a Moss three and scored at the other end. Hanga drained a three to cap a 0-9 run that drew the visitors within 6. Jerrells penetrated for a tough layup and a 74-66 lead with four minutes to go. The referees slapped Hamilton and Lawal with double technical for jawing at one another. Milan managed to kill some time with a long two-chance possession, but failed to find the basket. Jelinek silenced the crowd with a three from the corner to make it 74-69, but Hackett wasted little time in striking back with a three. A Lawal steal and Moss free throw stretched the lead back to 9. However Nocioni scored and Jelinek nailed a three with 20.2 seconds to go to bring Laboral within 78-74. However Langford sank 4 free throws in the final 20 seconds to help Milan stave off Vitoria and clinch the victory.
Friday, January 17, 2014