Real Madrid topped EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 65-72
Real Madrid advanced to the Top 16 in difficult Turkish Airlines Euroleague regular season Group C by edging EA7 Emporio Armani 65-72 in Milano, Italy on Thursday night. Madrid improved to 5-2 and mathematically made it to the next round due to its 2-0 record against Armani and Belgacom Spirou. Milano dropped to 2-5 and needs to bounce back right away to keep its Top 16 options alive. Sergio Rodriguez paced the winners with 19 points. Rudy Fernandez added 13 while Nikola Mirotic had 11 and 10 rebounds for Madrid. Danilo Gallinari led Armani with 13 points. Stefano Mancinelli added 12, Drew Nicholas had 11 while Ioannis Bourousis got 10 for the hosts. Fernandez led a 0-9 opening run that allowed Madrid to keep a 15-20 margin after 10 minutes. A 7-0 run that Jacopo Giachetti capped with a three-pointer helped Armani to tie the game, 22-22. Carlos Suarez, Rodriguez and Mirotic made Madrid regain a 30-36 edge at halftime. Mirotic got some help from Jaycee Carroll to keep the guests ahead, 47-53, after 30 minutes. Milano got within 65-67 in the next-to-last minute but Rodriguez buried a critical three-pointer and added free throws to seal the outcome down the stretch.
Fernandez got Madrid going with an acrobatic layup, as Armani struggled to find open shots in the opening minutes. Ante Tomic added a follow-up layup for a 0-4 Madrid lead. Armani missed 3 shots and committed as many turnovers in the early going while a dunk by Tomic and a catch-and-shoot triple by Fernandez capped a 0-9 Madrid run. Mancinelli stepped up with a three-point play that Mirotic matched with a bomb from downtown, good for a 3-12 score. Mancinelli kept pacing Armani with a triple but Fernandez stayed on fire with a step-back jumper. Bourousis scored down low and added a tip-in to get Armani within 10-14. Gallinari fed Malik Hairston for a corner three-pointer that sent the crowd to their feet, 13-14, after a 7-0 run. Mirotic banked in a turnaround jumper and Rodriguez made free throws to extend Madrid's lead to 13-18. Rodriguez scored in penetration but free throws by Hairston kept Armani within 15-20 after 10 minutes.
Rodriguez fed Serge Ibaka for a dunk early in the second quarter, as Armani tried to play more aggressive at both ends, powering the offensive board. Gallinari split free throws and Nicholas finished a three-chance Armani offense with a triple that got the hosts within 19-22. Madrid could not find the way to the basket and a three-pointer by Giachetti tied the game, 22-22, after a 7-0 run. Suarez stepped up with a bomb from downtown while Ibaka changed the game's momentum on defense with his blocks and intimidation. Rodriguez joined the three-point shootout and added free throws to restore a 22-30 Madrid margin. Omar Cook buried a corner triple but Ibaka shocked the crowd with a high-flying dunk. Cook and Mirotic traded easy baskets but free throws by Nicholas got Armani a bit closer, 28-34. Tomic banked in a close shot but free throws by Gallinari fixed the halftime score at 30-36.
Bourousis took over with an un-and-under layup right after the break but Tomic scored in the other end for a 32-38 Madrid lead. Fernandez took over with a driving layup that Mancinelli matched it with his trademark spin move in the low post and a jump hook by Bourousis got the crowd involved at 36-40. Nicholas nailed a baseline jumper but Carroll found his first points to keep Madrid ahead, 38-42. Nicholas stayed on fire with a long jumper but Carroll quickly bettered that with a bomb from downtown. Mancinelli scored around the basket off a timeout but Tomic stepped up with a left-handed jump hook and a backdoor layup by Mirotic made it a seven-point game, 42-49. Hairston shined with a second-chance basket but Mirotic matched with an outstanding put-back layup. Bourousis dunked it and Gallinari split free throws but a running jumper by Carroll gave Madrid a 47-53 lead after 30 minutes.
Rodriguez hit a floating layup early in the fourth quarter but Gallinari answered from downtown to keep Armani as close as 50-55. Gallinari set the crowd on fire with a wild slam, as Madrid could not get its frontcourt involved. Carroll stepped up with an off-balance shot in the lane, good for a 52-59 Madrid lead with 6 minutes left. Mancinelli banked in a driving shot but Rodriguez answered from downtown for a 54-62 score. Gallinari made free throws and a corner three-pointer by Cook made Madrid call timeout at 59-62. Ibaka and Hairston split free throws but Fernandez sank 4-of-4 attempts from the foul line for a 60-67 score with under 3 minutes left. Nicholas nailed a wide open triple and free throws by Gallinari got Armani as close as 65-67 with 1:41 to go. Fernandez and Mancinelli traded missed shots but a three-pointer by Rodriguez sealed the outcome, 65-70, with 50.1 seconds left. Free throws by Rodriguez allowed him to round his outstanding lead and take Madrid all the way to the Top 16!
Thursday, December 1, 2011