Milan downs Baskonia, first to 6 wins
AX Armani Exchange Milan extended its winning streak to six games by defeating visiting KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 81-74 on Thursday night at Mediolanum Forum. Milan improved to 6-1 to continue its best start this century and became the first team to six victories this season. Baskonia dropped to 3-4. In a hard-fought contest, Milan pulled away with a 17-0 fourth-quarter run that increased its lead to 73-55 and the hosts never looked back. Amedeo Della Valle scored 13 of his team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter to lead the winners, Sergio Rodriguez added 13 points, Michael Roll and Vladimir Micov each had 12 and Shelvin Mack netted 10 points in the victory. Nik Stauskas led Baskonia with 15 points, Pierria Henry and Youssoupha Fall scored 13 each and Tornike Shengelia finished with 12 points and 9 rebounds in a losing effort.
Milan scored the first 7 points of the game, but Baskonia replied in the same manner before a triple from Luca Vildoza made it 9-10. Nemanja Nedovic scored from close range for the hosts, but Baskonia finished the quarter with a 0-7 run, during which Stauskas hit a transition three before his jumper and an alley-oop connection from Henry to Youssoupha Fall made it 14-23 early in the second quarter. Rodriguez snapped a 0-11 run with a corner triple, and also added a jumper. Stauskas kept Baskonia in front with 2 more three-pointers, but Micov knocked down a pair from long range and Kaleb Tarczewski made his presence felt inside on both ends of the floor. Micov scored in the low post to cap a 9-0 run, before Mack scored the final 5 points of the half, including a three-pointer to make it 40-34 at halftime. Baskets were few and far between in the early going of the third, with Milan keeping in front on threes from Mack and Roll to lead 48-40. A three-pointer from Rodriguez made it 56-46, but Baskonia scored the last 7 points of the quarter with Henry hitting a triple and Michael Eric a fastbreak basket to cut the deficit to 56-55 at the start of the fourth. But Della Valle had a triple and Scola added a pair of baskets, before 6 more points from Della Valle - including another three-pointer - made it 73-55 with 5:40 to go. A three-point play from Shengelia snapped a 17-0 run. In the final 3 minutes, Shengelia and Henry chipped away at the deficit, but it was too little too late.
When Baskonia used a 0-9 run and closed to within 56-55 at the start of the fourth quarter, Milan answered right back with a 17-0 run to open the game up. The star of the moment was Amedeo Della Valle, who had 11 points during that spurt, including a pair of triples. Della Valle scored just 2 points for the game before hitting a three-pointer to start the key run and he finished with 15 points for the night.
This was Milan's seventh consecutive home win against Baskonia. This marks also the 10th time in the last 11 games these two sides that the home team won.
No rebounding disadvantage
Milan had just 2 offensive boards in this game, tied for the second-fewest Milan had in a single game this century. However, Milan overcame that by allowing just 5 offensive rebounds and forcing 17 turnovers, 11 of which Baskonia committed in the second half.
Sergio Rodriguez had just 2 assists in the game, but he moved past Milos Teodosic into sole possession of fourth place on all-time assists charts. Rodriguez has 1,128 for his career and needs 45 more to catch FC Barcelona point guard Thomas Heurtel (1,173) in third place.
Next week in Round 8 on Thursday, Milan travels to visit Khimki Moscow Region, while Baskonia goes home to host Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv.
Thursday, November 7, 2019