Bayern holds off Milan in opener
FC Bayern Munich got its season off to a positive start by holding off AX Armani Exchange Milan 78-64 in both teams' season opener on Thursday night. Milan was within 63-60 midway through the fourth quarter, but the hosts stepped it up another notch on defense and led by Nihad Dedovic and Vladimir Lucic pulled away to register their first win. Lucic led Bayern with 18 points while Dedovic finished with 16 points, Maodo Lo netted 12 and Greg Monroe made his Turkish Airlines EuroLeague debut with 10 rebounds. Luis Scola paced Milan with 17 points and 6 rebounds, Sergio Rodriguez had 14 points and 6 assists and Amedeo Della Valle scored 10 in defeat.
Bayern took control early behind Lucic and Dedovic, who combined for all the points to open a 10-3 lead. Rodriguez came off the bench and got to work right away. He hit a three-pointer and set up a dunk by Aaron White that put Milan up 17-19. The visitors led 22-23 after 10 minutes. Milan opened the second quarter with an alley-oop dunk from Rodriguez to Paul Biligha, before Bayern answered with a 15-0 run. Lucic sparked it with a three-point play and Paul Zipser and Lo added a triple apiece as the hosts surged to 40-27. Milan ended its 7-minute field goal drought through Scola, who scored 7 points before halftime, including a buzzer-beating three to make it 42-34 at the break. Back-to-back triples early in the third quarter from DeMarcus Nelson and Lucic pushed the margin into double figures again, 48-36. Scola and Kaleb Tarczewski halved the deficit, but a pair of baskets from Monroe and a triple from Lo assured Bayern goes into the final quarter with a 61-50 lead. However, Milan stepped it up defensively in the fourth and kept the hosts scoreless for more than 4 minutes during which Rodriguez, Biligha and Della Valle closed the deficit to 61-59. But Bayern never relinquished the lead as a fastbreak layup from Dedovic snapped a 0-9 run before Dedovic and Lucic led another fastbreak basket and Nelson scored a pair of layups to establish a 74-63 lead with less than 90 seconds to go and seal the outcome.
Bayern's biggest run came early in the second quarter when it scored 15 points while holding Milan scoreless for 5 minutes to open a 37-25 lead. To close the game out, Bayern needed a strong finish and it came in the form of a 9-1 run with Nihad Dedovic in the main role for a 70-60 margin late in the fourth quarter.
The glue duo
Vladimir Lucic and Nihad Dedovic were all over the place in this one. This pair combined for 34 points and 8 rebounds and also set the defensive tone with aggressive defense and 6 combined steals. Dedovic tied his career-high with 4 steals and also dished 3 assists.
Bayern's defense holds up
It was not the shooting night Milan imagined. The visitors were held to 42.9% on two-pointers and just 18.2% from long range. Bayern allowed 64 points, which is the fewest it has allowed in a EuroLeague home game since October 2015.
Scola returns as a three-point shooter
The legendary Luis Scola wore the Milan uniform in his first EuroLeague game since the 2007 Final Four. At age 39, he logged 28:30 minutes and scored 17 points. The power forward shot 2 for 6 from three-point range, while in his previous 144 appearances in the competition he was 1 for 11 from behind the arc.
Nothing like the last season
This is the second season in a row in which Bayern opened the season at home, but this one was nothing like the Round 1 game last season when Anadolu Efes Istanbul blew past Bayern for a 19-point win. The victory tonight was Bayern's first Round 1 win since beating Zielona Gora in its competition debut in the 2013-14 campaign.
Next week in Round 2, Bayern travels to Moscow to face reigning EuroLeague champion CSKA on Thursday. A day later Milan plays its home opener against Zalgiris Kaunas.
Thursday, October 3, 2019