Kuzminskas, Jerrells lead Milan to home win
AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan grabbed its third consecutive win by topping Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul 90-78 at Mediolanum Forum on Friday. Milan improved to 11-11 and remained in 8th place. Darussafaka dropped to 3-19 and is at the bottom of the standings. Mindaugas Kuzminskas led the winners with 19 points and 8 rebounds. Mike James added 18 points, Curtis Jerrells had 16, Vladimir Micov got 11 and James Nunnally 10 for Milan. Toney Douglas led Darussafaka with 21 points. Kartal Ozmizrak added 11 while Michael Eric had 10 for the guests, which led 60-61 after three quarters. Kuzminskas, Nunnally and Jerrells took over in the fourth quarter, leading Milan to a hard-fought win.
Eric got Darussafaka going with a layup and a jump hook. Alen Omic answered with a close basket, igniting a 7-0 run which James capped with a huge dunk for a 7-4 lead. Stanton Kidd and Muhammed Baygul each struck from downtown but Dairis Bertans and Omic restored an 11-10 Milan edge. Baskets were evenly traded for the next few minutes and Milan led 19-17 after the first. Jerrells hit a jumper early in the second but Ozmizrak did better with back-to-back triples, good for a 21-23 Darussafaka lead. Eric capped a 0-8 run with a jumper, and kept pacing the guests with an alley-oop slam before Dogus Ozdemiroglu hit a jumper for a 26-29 Darussafaka lead. James and Kuzminskas combined for 8 unanswered points that made the hosts regain the lead, and Amedeo Della Valle capped a 10-0 Milan run with a driving basket, before a three-pointer by Mert Akay fixed the score at 40-36 at halftime. Jeff Brooks buried a deep two-pointer soon after the break, and a three-pointer by Micov followed by a fast break layup from James made Darussafaka call timeout at 49-40. Douglas struck three times from downtown to give Darussafaka plenty of hope, and dunks by Eric and Jeremy Evans put the guests in charge, 54-56. Micov and Kuzminskas each hit a triple but free throws by Baygul and Ozmizrak gave their team a 60-61 edge after 30 minutes. James scored in penetration early in the fourth quarter but Ozmizrak quickly answered with a jumper. Nunnally buried a three-pointer, Jerrells added a driving layup, and a fast break basket by Kuzminskas made Darussafaka stop the game at 69-63. Jerrells buried back-to-back three-pointers to break the game open, 75-63, with a game-changing 15-0 run. Baygul scored down low but Nunnally did better with a bomb from downtown. Omic took over with a tip-in but Savas and Douglas kept the guests within 80-71 with 3 minutes left. Three-pointers by Kuzminskas and Jerrells sealed the outcome, 86-73, in the next-to-last minute.
Curtis Jerrells had 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, providing the spark his team needed to get the win. He hit 4-of-6 shots from downtown and stepped up when his team needed him most.
A close jumper by Kartal Ozmizrak gave Darussafaka its last lead, 62-63, early in the fourth quarter. Then a three-pointer by James Nunnally sparked a game-breaking 15-0 run in which Jerrells had 8 points - a driving layup and back-to-back bombs from beyond the arc - giving Milan a 75-63 margin and full control for good.
Despite missing its two main centers, Milan outrebounded Darussafaka by 39-34, pulling down 29 defensive rebounds - the club's second-best mark this season. It previously had 32 defensive rebounds against Herbalife Gran Canaria last week, even after losing Arturas Gudaitis midway through the game.
Did you notice?
With his 16 points tonight, Mike James totals 442 this season. That is the most points ever by a Milan player in a EuroLeague season. The previous record belonged to Keith Langford, who scored 439 points in the 2013-14 season to win the Alphonso Ford Top Scorer trophy.
The teams return to action in two weeks' time. Milan hosts Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv in a rematch of the 1987 and 1988 EuroLeague Championship Games, which Milan won. Maccabi also won the 2014 EuroLeague title in Milan's home court, Mediolanum Forum. Darussafaka takes on Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul in a local derby.
Friday, February 8, 2019