Visiting head coach Ettore Messina signalled before the game that with his team's absences on the perimeter, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan would have to win inside.
"We need at least get the advantage of playing big, trying to out-rebound Zalgiris," Messina said. "It won't be easy, but that's, of course, our only way, probably, to try to win this game."
But in what became a low-scoring battle won 71-62 by host Zalgiris Kaunas, the big man with the biggest impact belonged to the home team.
Rolands Smits seemed to be in the right place at the right time around the rim all night long, leading Zalgiris to a crucial 40-36 advantage on the boards with a career-high 10 rebounds, including a pair of key put-backs.
The first came right before the break, when he fought for an offensive board on a miss by Keenan Evans and dropped a quick shot that meant a 34-24 halftime lead for Zalgiris.
Milan fought back to within 63-58 in the final minute when Smits did it again, swiping a miss by Evans with 35 seconds left to put back in the last field goal for Zalgiris in an eventual 71-62 victory.