Efes rolls past Milan for 16th win
Anadolu Efes Istanbul never trailed en route to an 88-68 win over visiting AX Exchange Armani Milan, which lifted Efes into sole possession of first place on Tuesday night. It marked the fourth straight win and 12th win in the last 13 games for Efes to lift the team to a 16-3 record on the season. Milan dropped to 10-9 with its sixth consecutive road loss. Efes controlled the game from the start and pulled away with an 8-0 run to end the first half and then used a 9-0 third-quarter spurt to take an 18-point lead and never look back. Shale Larkin shined with 23 points, while Chris Singleton scored all 16 of his points in the first half. Sertac Sanli finished with 13 points in the win. Arturas Gudaitis led Milan with 11 points plus 7 rebounds, while Michael Roll and Kaleb Tarczewski scored 10 apiece.
Krunoslav Simon hit a three-pointer on one end and Keifer Skyes on the other. Larkin took it to the hoop to spark a 7-0 run, capped by a triple from Singleton for a 12-5 lead. Milan was held scoreless for 4 minutes, but Gudaitis had a three-point play and Sergio Rodriguez hit from long range to get within a single point. The scoring slowed down and Efes led 16-15 after 10 minutes. Singleton and Larkin each had a three-pointer for the hosts early in the second, but Milan took it to the rim through Gudaitis and Tarczewski. Singleton hit another three-pointer to make it 27-23, but Nemanja Nedovic and Tarczewski connected on an alley-oop. After Singleton's fourth three-pointer on as many attempts, Luis Scola had a three-point play and Vladimir Micov knocked down a three to get within 34-33. However, Larkin had a layup-plus-foul and followed it up with a triple as Efes finished the second quarter with an 8-0 run to take a 42-33 cushion into halftime.
Larkin was hot to start the second half, with his triple extending the margin to 47-35. Milan answered with Micov from downtown and Tarczewski inside, but Larkin hit another triple before Tibor Pleiss scored twice inside to cap a 9-0 run and make it 56-40. Michael Roll made a floater to stop the drought, and Micov had a three-point play to cut within 62-49. But Sertac Sanli hit a last-second triple to end the third quarter and then scored from close range early in the fourth to make it 69-49. Roll hit a pair of three-pointers as Milan got within 71-57, but never closer than that. Rodrigue Beaubois drained a pair of corner triples and Sanli added to his tally from close range to secure a 20-point final margin.
Efes starters ruled
It took 28 minutes and 15 seconds for any player from the Efes bench to score in this game. Efes's starters scored the team's first 58 points until Rodrigue Beaubois hit a jumper. The home team starters were outscoring Milan 58-42 at that point.
Among Efes's starters – Shane Larkin, Krunoslav Simon, Tibor Pleis and James Anderson – it was Chris Singleton who got Efes going in the first half. He dropped 16 points on 4-for-4 from three-point range in the first two quarters, keeping Efes in front before Larkin took over.
Making up for offensive boards
Milan outrebounded Efes 13-4 on the offensive glass and the hosts had just 1 offensive rebound in the first three quarters. But it did not matter, and Efes still held a commanding double-digit margin after 30 minutes because at that point it held Milan to 37.8% two-point shooting, 22.2% three-point shooting, and Efes had just 4 turnovers through three quarters, compared to 10 by Milan.
Trend goes on
This was the 10th consecutive season these two teams met at least twice in the EuroLeague and the first time since 2014-15 that Efes has swept regular-season meetings against Milan. Efes has now swept Milan three times in the past 10 seasons and two teams have split the series the other seven times.
Efes will be in action already on Thursday when it visits Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv, while Efes will play again on Friday when it welcomes LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne.
Tuesday, January 14, 2020