Milan trashes Fenerbahce on the road
AX Armani Exchange Milan displayed a dominant performance against Fenerbahce BEKO Istanbul and claimed a 43-68 blowout win at the Ulker Sports and Event Hall on Friday evening. The visitors suffocated the home team’s offense from the very beginning, holding its opponent to 3 points in the first period and building a solid double-digit margin, 3-22, that was never jeopardized. A three-point rain after the intermission gave Milan a 29-62 lead after 30 minutes, good to confirm a victory that improves its record to 8-1 and keeps it as sole leader. Shavon Shields paced the winners with 13 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Luigi Datome followed him with 11 points, as Nicolo Melli had 6 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists for a PIR of 17. Fenerbahce, which dropped to 3-6, had only one player in double-digits in scoring, Pierria Henry with 12. Jan Vesely helped him with 9 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals for a PIR of 21 in the losing effort.
Defenses prevailed in the early going, but the visitors found some scoring from Fenerbahce’s former members Datome and Melli. Both combined on a 0-7 opening run that forced a hosts’ urgent timeout. The break didn’t change the trend, as Datome and Melli kept rocking to extend the margin to 1-11. Shields joined the party by draining a short jumper and a three, digging a 1-16 hole. Fenerbahce needed 9 minutes to score its first and only field goal in the quarter through Sehmus Hazer, but Devon Hall made it even worse for the hosts by drilling another three that closed the first quarter 3-22.
Sergio Rodriguez connected with Kaleb Tarczewski for an alley-oop dunk and Konstantinos Mitoglou scored from downtown to open the second period, then Hall and Giampaolo Ricci joined in with another triple and an inside basket respectively to build a 5-32 cushion. Fenerbahce finally managed to chain together 3 successful offenses, getting within 11-32. The hosts kept breathing thanks to Vesely and Henry, as the latter poured in a three and a contested layup to cap a 15-3 surge that softened the disadvantage, 20-35. A layup off the steal by Jerian Grant sent the game to the locker room with Milan up 20-37.
Both teams traded mistakes after the intermission until Shields and Datome came up big with consecutive three-pointers from the same spot that tore a 20-46 hole. The three-point rain didn’t end there, as Hall and Mitoglou contributed one each which buried Fenerbahce even deeper, 24-52, midway through the third quarter. Marko Guduric responded from long distance, but it was useless against another upcoming Milan punch: Kyle Hines hit a jumper, Ricci added a triple, and Mitoglou provided a couple of inside buckets to sign off a 0-9 run that helped Milan enter the last frame with the outcome in no doubt, 29-62.
Hazer and Henry boosted the hosts with an 8-0 run early in the final quarter. Shields put the visitor’s scoring drought to an end with a mid-range jumper but was the only Milan field goal for almost 7 minutes. Fenerbahce could not take advantage as it remained scoreless for a long period too. Henry scored a triple that allowed Fenerbahce to reach the 40-point mark entering the last 2 minutes but he couldn’t prevent his team from registering its lowest scoring night ever in the competition.
Milan defense turns Fenerbahce offense into nightmare
AX Armani Exchange Milan displayed terrific defense from the very beginning, suffocating the hosts’ offense all over the court. Fenerbahce needed 5 minutes to open its scoring thanks to a free throw by Jan Vesely and it took 9 minutes until the home team got its first field goal through Sehmus Hazer. By that time, the visitors were already leading 3-19, and finished the first period with a solid 3-22 lead. Fenerbahce’s first-quarter scoring was its lowest ever in the competition, as the previous negative record was 4 points in the 2004-2005 season. It also fell 2 points shy of the EuroLeague’s lowest by any team, as Zalgiris Kaunas had only 2 in the opening quarter against Anadolu Efes Istanbul on December 4, 2014. The hosts finished with 43 points, also its lowest ever. The last time the Turkish champs were held to less than 50 points was in 2008-2009, when Fenerbahce lost to CSKA Moscow 48-66 in Istanbul.
Three-pointers boost Milan’s offense
In addition to an impressive defensive performance, Milan took advantage of its shooters to cruise to a big win over Fenerbahce. The guests drilled 4 triples from 4 different players in the first 10 minutes, and three of them came together to close the first period with a double-digit margin, 3-22. The rain continued right after halftime, as Shavon Shields and Luigi Datome hit three times from behind the arc and from the same spot to make it 20-46 after 23 minutes. Devon Hall contributed with another bomb soon after and Giampaolo Ricci added another one of his own in the third quarter to seal the outcome, 27-56, with more than 13 minutes remaining.
Telling numbers: Milan dominates all categories
The visitors displayed a very solid performance all over the court, and that dominance had a clear footprint in the final stats. Milan shot better, as they went for 15-of-28 on two-pointers (53.6%), 11-of-32 in three-pointers (34.4%) and 5-of-7 from the foul line, compared to Fenerbahce’s 40.6% in doubles, 19% in triples and 38.5% in free-throws. Milan also outrebounded its opponent 40-31, dished 6 more assists and turned the ball over 4 times less. The only category in which the host had better numbers was steals, but even in that Fenerbahce could not overcome the winners as they got just 7 points from those turnovers, against the 20 points off turnovers Milan was able to collect.
Friday, November 12, 2021