2013-14Top 16Round 10
March 13, 2014 CET: 21:00
Local time: 21:00 FERNANDO BUESA ARENA

Milan grabs fourth straight win to close in on playoffs

EA7 Emporio Armani Milan took a critical step forward to make it to the playoffs from Top 16 Group E by downing Laboral Kutxa Vitoria 65-83 on the road on Thursday. Milan grabbed its fourth consecutive win and improved to 7-3 to keep hold of second place in Group E. Vitoria dropped to 2-8 and is all but mathematically out of the playoffs race. Curtis Jerrells led the winners with 17 points. Samardo Samuels added 15, Alessandro Gentile had 13 while Keith Langford scored 12 for Milan, which collected 14 steals. Tibor Pleiss led Vitoria with Euroleague career-highs of 30 points and 13 rebounds - but none of his teammates scored in double digits. Langford and Daniel Hackett fueled a 5-20 opening run. An outstanding Pleiss ignited a 15-0 run which Leo Mainoldi capped with a three-point shot to give Vitoria its only lead, 26-25. Milan kept collecting steals – 11 before halftime! – and found a new go-to guy in Gentile, who got plenty of help from C.J. Wallace to boost the guests' margin to 36-50 at halftime. An unstoppable Pleiss brought Vitoria within 52-58, but Jerrells and Samuels allowed Milan to restore a 55-67 margin after three quarters. Nothing changed in the fourth quarter, as Milan boosted its lead to 59-78 and never looked back.

First quarter: 5-20 opening run puts Milan in control

Hackett got Milan going with a three-pointer and a four-meter jumper by Samiels gave the guests a 0-5 lead. Vitoria was held scoreless for almost two minutes until Fernando San Emeterio nailed a corner triple. Samuels scored around the basket and a layup by David Moss boosted Milan's lead to 3-9. Andres Nocioni made free throws, but Nicolo Melli erased them with a put-back basket and soon gave Milan a 5-13 margin. Langford followed a turnaround jumper with a three-pointer in transition and Melli capped a 0-11 Milan run for a 5-20 score. Fabien Causeur stepped up for Vitoria, but Langford scored again to keep the guests way ahead, 7-22. Vitoria tried a different frontcourt with Pleiss and Mainoldi. Pleiss hit a baseline jumper and exchanged layups with Hackett to make it 11-25. Pleiss kept pushing Vitoria with a jump hook and by making 4 of 6 free throws to bring the hosts within single digits, 17-25. Pleiss scored in the paint for a 19-27 Vitoria deficit after 10 minutes.

Second quarter: Visitors pull away

Adam Hanga downed a five-meter jumper early in the quarter and soon added free throws to bring Vitoria within 23-25. A three-pointer by Mainoldi capped a 15-0 Vitoria run and allowed the hosts to take their first lead, 26-25. Gentile rescued Milan with a mid-range jumper and free throws. After David Jelinek scored around the basket, Hackett made free throws. Pleiss kept Vitoria within 30-31. Samuels silenced the crowd with a huge slam and a free throw by C.J. Wallace made it a 4-point game. Jerrells scored in transition, but Thomas Heurtel hit a stop-and-pop jumper. Hackett kept Milan way ahead, 32-38. Hanga kept pushing Vitoria with a driving layup and Pleiss matched Wallace's jumper with a high-release jump hook. Gentile struck from downtown and provided a highlight with a dunk that caused the hosts to call timeout at 36-45. Gentile buried a wide open triple and free throws by Wallace fixed the halftime score at 36-50.

Third quarter: Dominant Pleiss keeps Vitoria alive

Samuels split free throws immediately after the break. Vitoria tried to speed up the game tempo by using shorter possessions. Causeur nailed a three-pointer that Langford matched at the other end for a 39-54 Milan lead. Pleiss tried to change things with a tip-in and free throws, as Milan struggled to score midway through the third quarter. Pleiss ignited the crowd with consecutive dunks that gave Vitoria some hope at 47-54, after an 8-0 run. Samuels split free throws. Jerrells and Nocioni exchanged three-pointers and Causeur sank a corner jumper to bring the hosts back to life, 52-58. Vitoria was all over the plavce on defense, with big blocks by Nocioni and Ilimane Diop. Jerrells rescued Milan with a one-handed floater and a wild step-back jumper by Langford gave the guests a 52-62 margin. Nocioni split foul shots, Diop followed that with a put-back basket, but Samuels and a buzzer-beating triple by Jerrells restored a 55-67 Vitoria margin.

Fourth quarter: Milan's intensity paves the way to victory

Peppe Poeta found his first points early. Jerrells shined with a driving layup. Hackett and Pleiss received unsportsmanlike fouls after fighting for a loose ball. Gentile made free throws, as the game turned into a physical battle. Moss buried a corner three-pointer that sealed the outcome, 57-73, with six minutes to go. Hanga hit a jumper in transition, but Jerrells followed a jumper with an acrobatic three-point shot that forced Vitoria to call timeout at 59-78. Pleiss scored around the basket, but he didn't find much help around. Milan started to use long possessions to run the game clock down, and stayed active on defense to cruise to a very important victory in the hunt to reach the playoffs.

Daniel Hackett - EA7 Emporio Armani Milan - EB13
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Attendance: 8246 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria19171910
EA7 Emporio Armani Milan25251716
End of Quarter1234
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria19365565
EA7 Emporio Armani Milan25506783
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 MAINOLDI, LEO 14:04 3   1/2           2 1     4 1  
5 NOCIONI, ANDRES 29:22 6 0/5 1/4 3/4 1 8 9 3 2 3 2 1 3 5 11
6 POETA, GIUSEPPE 16:45 2 1/2 0/2         2 1 1     1 1 1
8 HANGA, ADAM 20:48 8 3/4 0/2 2/2   3 3 2   2     2 2 8
12 DIOP, ILIMANE 8:37 2 1/1     1 1 2       1   1   4
19 SAN EMETERIO, FERNANDO 27:12 3 0/1 1/2     2 2 1   2     1   1
21 PLEISS, TIBOR 27:53 30 10/14   10/13 5 8 13     1 2   4 10 43
22 HEURTEL, THOMAS 23:15 2 1/2 0/5   1 2 3 5   3       1 2
25 JELINEK, DAVID 9:28 2 1/2 0/1 0/1   2 2 1   2     1   -1
30 VAN OOSTRUM, DEVON DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
55 CAUSEUR, FABIEN 22:36 7 2/4 1/3         1   2     2 1 1
Team           1   1               1
Totals 200:00 65 19/35 4/21 15/20 9 26 35 15 5 17 5 1 19 21 71
        54.3% 19% 75%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
EA7 Emporio Armani Milan
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 GENTILE, ALESSANDRO 15:49 13 2/3 2/3 3/5   1 1     1   1 1 2 9
7 CERELLA, BRUNO 0:04                              
9 MELLI, NICOLO 14:33 6 2/2 0/1 2/2 1 1 2   2 1     3 1 6
12 HACKETT, DANIEL 25:12 9 1/3 1/1 4/4   2 2 5 3       3 4 18
14 KANGUR, KRISTJAN 20:03   0/3       1 1       1   2   -3
23 LANGFORD, KEITH 21:32 12 3/6 2/5     3 3 2 1 1   3 3 3 8
24 SAMUELS, SAMARDO 27:57 15 4/9 1/1 4/6 1 2 3 2 4 2   1 2 4 16
30 WALLACE, C.J. 15:39 5 1/3 0/1 3/4   5 5 1 1       2 3 9
31 LAWAL, GANI 1:44                         4   -4
34 MOSS, DAVID 33:48 6 1/2 1/4 1/2 2 6 8 1 3       2 1 12
55 JERRELLS, CURTIS 23:39 17 4/5 3/5   1 3 4 3   3       1 19
Team           1 1 2     1         1
Totals 200:00 83 18/36 10/21 17/23 6 25 31 14 14 9 1 5 22 19 91
        50% 47.6% 73.9%
Head coach: BANCHI, LUCA

Head Coaches

Laboral Kutxa Vitoria
"I want to congratulate our opponent tonight for their win because it’s a team with great talent, power and that also plays great team basketball, with patience and a great capability to make good plays in the clutch moments and at the end of the possession. I also want to thank my players for the effort they put on the court; they fought as much as they could, they tried hard every time the difference got bigger, and never gave up. I want to congratulate Pleiss too for his great effort, proving not only his improvement from the technical point of view, but also from a mental standpoint. He showed improved maturity, especially on a day when we even didn’t know a few minutes before the game if he was going to be able to play. We had a couple of bad moments in the first and the last quarters when we forgot to play team basketball, something that we had improved in our last two games, but we have to take into account who was in front of us tonight, a very powerful team, but we have to reflect on that and improve it. "
EA7 Emporio Armani Milan
"It is another great win for us. We had a solid performance in front of a great team that tonight showed a lot of pride and desire to compete in front of their fans. It was a complicated game for us, especially from the emotional standpoint as we built a good advantage from the very beginning very quickly, but they managed to come back also very quickly. We had the ability to create good advantages and keep our opponents at a distance, which wasn’t easy as because they play very aggressive, but we had solid fourth quarter in defense that allowed us to control the game. Tibor Pleiss played a great game, and it may sound strange, but I want to congratulate my players for their great effort they put on court. We did a good job on him, trying to limit his game and force unbalanced shots. I’m very happy because we showed defensive consistency and that’s the right way. We have to be more poised, and control the emotional part of the game, especially playing on the road. "


Laboral Kutxa Vitoria
"It was a tough loss for us today. I think Milan has a great team. We tried to fight, but we found problems in the beginning and even though we managed to come back and the game got pretty tight later, we ended up losing by a big margin. We always tried to fight, always, but we lost and it’s sad for us. Of course that scoring so many points was special for me, but it would have been more special if we had won. My goal was to win the game, not to make these numbers. I felt greatly supported by my teammates, they gave me great passes and that allowed me to get easy baskets. I’m happy that I could help them too with my game, but we lost in the end and that’s the important thing. Milan played very good and made very important three-pointers in key moments. "
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria
"We had a very bad start, allowing them to amass a very comfortable lead. We tried hard later, we got closer and reduced the gap in the second quarter, but they scored some key three pointers and the difference grew up again. After halftime we kept trying, but once again they managed to get some baskets at the shot-clock buzzer and they killed us; it became impossible to complete the comeback. We cannot stop because of this result, as we face key games in the Spanish League and we must grab a win. "
EA7 Emporio Armani Milan
"It was a great win for our team. This team has a lot of good things like the big fellow Tibor Pleiss. He had a great game and we were lucky to get this win. I think we can achieve big things this season in the Euroleague, but we have to take one game at a time, think only about the next one and keep it rolling. Pleiss gave us a lot of problems tonight, but I agree with my coach that we did a good job in defense, he is a very good player, he has a height advantage and we did the best we could. "
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