ASVEL gets fourth straight win
LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne confirmed its outstanding form by downing AX Armani Exchange Milan 78-69 at the Astroballe on Friday. ASVEL improved to 10-14 and registered its fourth consecutive victory, while Milan dropped to 15-8 and saw its six-game winning streak come to an end. David Lighty led the winners with 16 points and Guerschon Yabusele added 14, while Norris Cole and Moustapha Fall each had 12 for ASVEL. Shavon Shields led Milan with 18 points while Zach LeDay added 14. Milan led most of the way and had a 54-60 lead with less than 8 minutes left. But Lighty, Howard and Cole fueled a game-changing 14-2 run which allowed ASVEL to win it down the stretch.
Malcolm Delaney got Milan going with a driving layup which Kevin Punter followed with a step-back jumper for a 0-4 lead. Lighty and Yabusele combined for all points in a 6-0 ASVEL run but Shields followed a dunk with a triple to restore an 8-9 Milan edge. Lighty and Shields traded layups, then LeDay sank a jumper for a 10-13 score. Ismael Bako dunked, getting help from Lighty and Cole to put ASVEL ahead, 16-15. Shields and Delaney each struck from downtown to give the guests a 20-23 lead after 10 minutes. Amine Noua scored off a spin move early in the second quarter and Diot added a three-pointer to make ASVEL regain a 25-23 edge. Kaleb Tarczewski and LeDay rescued Milan and Luigi Datome struck from beyond the arc for a 28-31 lead. Tarczewski erased Yabusele's jump hook with a layup and Michael Roll joined the three-point shootout to make ASVEL call timeout at 30-36. Fall scored again and Cole added a coast-to-coast layup, but Kyle Hines and Leday kept the guests ahead, 37-40, at halftime.
Punter and LeDay made it a seven-point game, 37-44, soon after the break. Matthew Strazel sank a jumper that Punter bettered with a triple. Shields nailed an off-balance jumper that made it a double-digit game, 39-49. Fall scored down low and Cole buried a floater to give ASVEL hope at 43-49. LeDay downed a jump hook but Yabusele brought the hosts even closer, 47-51. William Howard struck from way downtown and Bako made it a one-point game, 52-53. Roll sank his second triple to fix the score at 52-56 after 30 minutes. Shields hit back-to-back jumpers early in the fourth quarter but Paul Lacombe and Lighty got ASVEL within 57-60. Cole took over with consecutive jumpers and a running hook that gave the home side a 63-62 edge. Howard buried a 10-meter triple and Lighty hit a fadeaway jumper to make Milan stop the game at 68-62. Lighty erased Hines's layup with a jumper and added a three-pointer that sealed the outcome, 73-64, as Milan never recovered.
Shavon Shields gave Milan a 59-62 lead with over 6 minutes left. But then Norris Cole took over with a jumper and a running hook, igniting a 14-2 run in which William Howard struck from way beyond the arc and David Lighty added the remaining 7 points to boost ASVEL's lead to 73-64, enough to start celebrating.
Two-point shots made the difference in this game. Milan hit just 18-of-49 shots inside the arc (37.5%), whereas ASVEL needed 10 fewer attempts to score 27 shots. Its two-point shooting percentage (71.1%, 27-of-38) is the club's third-best in EuroLeague history, close to its record - 72.7% against Khimki Moscow Region on December 26, 2019.
Did you know?
ASVEL has won four consecutive EuroLeague games for only the second time this century. Its only previous four-game winning streak bridged the 2002-03 and 2003-04 campaigns, downing Cibona Zagreb and Partizan Belgrade in February 2002, and defeating Virtus Bologna and Idea Slask Wroclaw in October 2002.
William Howard played a critical role with a couple of really long, late three-pointers that gave ASVEL a big boost. He finished with 9 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists for a PIR of 17 in less than 18 minutes off the bench.
Both teams return to action in two weeks. Milan hosts Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv on Tuesday, February 18 in a rematch of the 1987 and 1988 EuroLeague Championship Games. A day later, on Friday, February 19, ASVEL welcomes FC Bayern Munich.
Friday, February 5, 2021