EA7 Emporio Armani Milan wins series opener on the road
EA7 Emporio Armani Milan started in Eurocup Eighthfinals series with a 69-72 road win at Banvit Bandirma. Krunoslav Simon scored 7 points on the final two minutes – including a pair of go-ahead shots – to lead Milan, which trailed by as many as 10 in the third quarter. The lead changed hands six times alone in the fourth quarter, which ended with the visitors 2-9 run to grab the victory. The two teams meet again next week for the second leg, in which Milan will advance to the quarterfinals if it wins or loses by less than 3. Rakim Sanders led five Milan scorers in double figures with 19 points and 4 steals, while Simon finished with 15 points and 5 assists for the winners, Mantas Kalnietis and Andrea Cinciarini contributed 13 points apiece and Jamel McLean added 10 points and 9 rebounds for Milan. Courtney Fortson paced Banvit with 18 points, 7 assists and 4 steals, Keith Simmons scored 10 and Adrien Moerman contributed 7 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists in defeat. Banvit made only 60.7% of its free throws and its 11 misses from the line ended up costing it in the end.
Banvit used its size to its advantage early as Gasper Vidmar scored and Tolga Gecim’s put-back made it 4-0. Milan retaliated from outside with triples by Sanders and Simon to tie it at 6-6. Gecim nailed a three Moerman set up Vidmar and Fortson’s steal and layup capped a 7-0 Banvit push. After Cinciarini’s layup plus foul, Kalnietis drew Milan within 13-11 after 10 minutes. Kalnietis added a basket and then 2 free throws to even the score at 17-17 and Sanders gave Milan a slim lead, but four players scored in a 7-0 Banvit run to reclaim the lead at 26-21 midway through the second quarter. Moerman extended the difference to 7, but Cinciarini drilled a three and added a basket-and-foul to bring the visitors within 32-28. Triples by Simmons and then Gecim at the buzzer gave the hosts a 38-30 halftime advantage.
Fortson’s steal led to a Vidmar slam and a double-digit Banvit lead at the start of the second half. Sanders hit a three and totaled 7 points in a 0-9 Milan run that got the visitors back in the game. Dominique Johnson hit a three, but soon a red-hot Sanders tied it at 43-43. Cinciarini’s triple put Milan ahead 45-48, but Simmons and A.J. Slaughter nudged Banvit in front by 2. A three by Kalnietis and a layup by Jamel Mclean ended the third quarter with Milan in the lead, 50-53. Free throws by Fortson and Jackie Carmichael soon tied the game and a Slaughter triple gave Banvit a 58-57 edge. After Fortson free throws, Sanders tied it at 60-60 with five minutes to play. The lead changed hands first on a Simon jumper and then a three by Simmons. Simon took charge with a jumper and a three to put Milan on top 67-68 with a minute to go. A key offensive rebound by Carmichael helped Fortson give the hosts the lead again, but Simon made it 69-70. Banvit had a final possession to win it, but Charles Jenkins rejected Fortson and Daniele Magro scored at the buzzer to give Milan a 3-point win.
Wednesday, February 24, 2016