Milan shows Baskonia no mercy
AX Armani Exchange Milan stayed undefeated by downing Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 64-78 in front of over 7,000 fans at Buesa Arena on Friday. Milan improved to 2-0 while Baskonia dropped to 0-2. Malcolm Delaney led the winners with 13 points, Shavon Shields and Devon Hall added 12 points apiece while Nicolo Melli had 10 for Milan. Shields also contributed 10 rebounds for a double-double. Simone Fontecchio led Baskonia with 16 points. Wade Baldwin and Rokas Giedraitis each added 14 while Steven Enoch had 10 for the hosts. Melli took over early in the game and Hall struck twice from beyond the arc to help Milan get a 17-19 lead after 10 minutes. Delaney and Hall fueled a 0-10 run which boosted the guests' margin to 30-38 at halftime. Nothing changed after the break, as Milan boosted its margin to 58-68 at the end of the third quarter and then again to 51-66 with under 7 minutes left, enough to seal the outcome long before the final buzzer.
Shields got Milan going with a three-point play. Baldwin hit a close jumper and Fontecchio added a tip-in but Melli kept the guests ahead, 4-7. Fontecchio capped a 6-0 run with a corner triple that gave Baskonia its first lead, 10-7. Melli kept pacing Milan, and got help from Hall and Dinos Mitoglou to make Milan regain a 13-14 lead. Jerian Grant scored in penetration and Hall buried his second three-pointer, but Giedraitis and Landry Nnoko kept the hosts within 17-19 at the first of the first quarter. Giedraitis ignited the crowd with a wild triple early in the second quarter. Kyle Hines followed a dunk with a reverse layup, but Enoch kept Baskonia within 22-23. Sergio Rodriguez downed a corner three-pointer but Giedraitis and Enoch both dunked to tie it at 26-26. Giampaolo Ricci scored down low and Delaney struck from downtown, giving Milan fresh air at 26-31. Mitoglou added a tip-in and Hall sank one from beyond the arc to make it a double-digit game, 26-36. Delaney hit a jumper but Baldwin kept Baskonia within 30-38 at halftime.
Melli beat the shot clock with a rainbow jumper immediately after the break and soon added a dunk for a 33-42 Milan margin. Hall insisted from downtown and Shields added a reverse layup that broke the game open, 33-47. Fontecchio banked in a jump hook, and got help from Jayson Granger to give the hosts hope at 39-49. Ricci and Rodriguez each struck from downtown, before Fontecchio and Enoch tried to change things for Baskonia, bringing the hosts within 47-57 after 30 minutes. Shields joined the three-point shootout early in the fourth quarter. Enoch and Giedraitis kept pacing the hosts but Delaney and Mitoglou kept Milan way ahead, 51-66, with under 7 minutes left. Baldwin hit a jumper and Fontecchio dunked but Shields scored around the basket and Milan started to run the game clock down. Mitoglou beat the shot clock with a bomb from downtown that sealed the outcome, 57-71, as Baskonia could not recover in the final 3 minutes.
Milan makes run, stays way ahead
It was a close battle for 15 minutes until Milan improved its defense and made the difference as Baskonia went scoreless for almost 4 minutes. Meanwhile, a backdoor layup by Giampaolo Ricci sparked a 0-10 run in which Malcolm Delaney and Devon Hall each struck from beyond the arc. All of a sudden, Milan led 26-36 near halftime and the guests did a great job on keeping a safe margin from that moment until the final buzzer.
Milan shoots better, circulates the ball
Long-distance shooting and ball movement made the difference in this game. Milan buried 12-of-27 shots from downtown (44.4%) and finished the game with 17 assists. On the other hand, Baskonia hit 4-of-26 three-pointers, with the lowest shooting percentage from downtown at home (15.4%) since November 13, 2014 (15.0% 3FG vs. Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade). Baskonia was also limited to just 7 assists, tying the team’s fourth-worst mark at home in EuroLeague history.
Enoch, a new fan favorite in Baskonia
Despite the loss, Baskonia center Steven Enoch proved he can definitely compete at this level, showing his club's trademark character. Enoch only stepped on court for 12 minutes, but he finished with 10 points and 6 rebounds - three of those on the offensive end. Enoch also ignited the crowd with his energy and with one of the most spectacular plays of the night, a high-flying alley-oop slam, proving that his connection with Jayson Granger can pay dividends in the near future.
Friday, October 8, 2021