O'Bryant, Maccabi edge Milan in a thriller
In a thrilling game that came down to the final seconds, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv edged AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan 94-92 in a packed and loud Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv on Thursday night. Led by Johnny O'Bryant's 32 points, Maccabi improved to 5-10 at the midway point of the regular season, while the loss dropped Milan to 7-8. Alex Tyus added 16 points and 7 rebounds in victory, while Nemanja Nedovic netted 17 for Milan which had six scorers in double figures. Mike James scored 16 points along with 8 assists and 4 rebounds as Milan slipped to 7-8.
Milan struck first with a 0-14 run that Jeff Brooks opened with a three-pointer and Nedovic hit a pair from downtown to make it 10-18. Maccabi answered through Jake Cohen who had 5 points, including a three-pointer, before DeAndre Kane went coast-to-coast to help cut it to 21-24 at the end of first quarter. Maccabi continued its charge in the second, with Michael Roll and O'Bryant hitting back-to-back threes as the hosts went up 31-26. James snapped a 10-0 run with a corner three and fed Kaleb Tarczewski for a fastbreak dunk. Milan put together a 1-10 run with Nedovic's triple helping the visitors regain a 35-39 lead. Milan remained in front, but Tyus scored 7 consecutive points for Maccabi and Wilbekin hit a shot-clock beating triple to make it 46-48 at halftime. The teams traded blows early in the third quarter. A triple apiece from Nedovic and Micov had the visitors in front, but Tyus and Wilbekin kept Maccabi close at 57-58. O'Bryant got hot and hit back-to-back-to-back shots from behind the arc as Maccabi took a 69-63 advantage. However, Curtis Jerrells knocked one down from long range and James hit another in the final seconds of the third quarter, tying it at 75-75. Maccabi was held without a field goal for almost 3 minutes at the start of the fourth and Arturas Gudaitis came up huge twice inside as Milan re-opened a 78-83 lead. But O'Bryant needed just 52 seconds to hit a tough jumper and a transition triple to tie the game again at 83-83. Kane's corner triple made it 88-87. Angelo Caloiaro had a corner three-pointer that made it 91-89, but Micov answered with a three-point play that put Milan in front 91-92 with 51.5 seconds left. However, Tyus hit a pair of free throws and Kendrick Ray split his foul shots, while Maccabi made two defensive stands in the final minute to prevail.
Johnny O'Bryant had one of the best performances of this EuroLeague season. After scoring just 2 points in the opening quarter, O'Bryant went on to finish with 32 points and become the first non-guard this season to score 30 or more. O'Bryant made 5 of 8 two-point shots and 5 of 7 triples and also had 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals, accumulating a PIR of 44, the highest of any player this season.
With his team down 91-92, Alex Tyus stepped on the free throw line with 51.5 seconds to go. Before that moment he made 2 of 4 in the game and 15 of 26 for the season. But that did not stop him from making both with the game on the line and putting Maccabi up for good.
Offenses dominated in this game and one of the keys was unbelievable three-point shooting. In the first three quarters, the two teams combined to make 21 triples from 30 attempts with Maccabi hitting 11 and Milan making 10, each from 15 attempts.
Did you notice?
Maccabi entered this game averaging 76.9 points per game and had not scored more than 80 points in 11 of its last 12 EuroLeague games.
Maccabi will start 2019 with a Round 16 visit to reigning champion Real Madrid, while Milan will host Buducnost Voli Podgorica next week.
Thursday, December 27, 2018