EA7 Emporio Armani bested Unics Kazan 63-58
EA7 Emporio Armani Milan registered its first Top 16 victory and handed Unics Kazan its first Top 16 loss with a 63-58 result in the fashion capital on Wednesday. The hosts enjoyed great efforts from several players to register the win. Antonis Fotsis made 4 of 5 three-pointers for 16 points, J.R. Bremer led the way early and finished with 13 points in his first Euroleague game in many years, Leon Radosevic started in place of the injured Ioannis Bourousis and responded with 11 points and Omar Cook ran the offense effectively and dished 7 assists. The result improved Armani to 1-3, but it will still need to win both its remaining games and to get some help to have a chance of reaching the Playoffs. Nathan Jawai, Vladimir Veremeenko and Henry Domercant scored 11 each for Unics and Terrell Lyday added 10. Unics is 3-1 and needs one win in either of its remaining games to secure a playoff berth.
Unics started strong as Veremeenko’s offensive rebound set Lyday up for a second-chance basket on the visitor’s first possession. Alessandro Gentile worked the pick-and-roll with Radosevic as the latter scored Milan’s first points and then Fotsis nailed a triple as the hosts took the lead. Bremer scored a layup in transition and then Fotsis hit a second three as the hosts jumped ahead 10-5. Radosevic and Bremer continued to fuel the hosts as the big man sandwiched a pair of scores in the paint around a Bremer triple to make it 17-7. Jawai came off the bench and scored on the offensive glass and then Lynn Greer made it a 6-point game from the line. Bremer remained on fire with a long three of the glass to beat the 24-second clock. Mike Wilkinson’s basket made it 20-13 after 10 minutes.
Omar Cook hit a long jumper to open the second quarter. The hosts kept Unics quiet on offense, but did not take advantage at the other end. When Kazan finally got going, a Bostjan Nachbar triple and a vicious Jawai slam closed the gap to 22-17. Even after a Milan timeout, the momentum remained with the visitors. Radosevic scored to end the hosts’ scoreless run, but Kelly McCarty placed a perfect lob pass to Jawai for a slam and then scored his own basket to make it 24-23. Fotsis scored from the line, but Jawai answered down low and on the next play drew a foul and evened the score from the line, 26-26. Veremeenko and Bremer traded baskets before Drew Nicholas hit a triple to keep the hosts on top 32-28 at halftime.
Radosevic remained a force to be reckoned with in the paint as he attacked the basket, was blocked by Veremeenko, but found the ball and scored to start the second half. Henry Domercant made it a 2-point game with a pair of free throws, but Fotsis’s third three of the night kept Armani ahead. Petr Samoylenko set up Veremeenko for an easy score. However Armani kept rolling as Fotsis and Bremer scored back-to-back three-pointers to stretch the lead to 43-34 midway through the third quarter. Mason Rocca made it a double-digit lead for the hosts. Lyday tried to fuel a Kazan comeback, but Rocca continued to generate points. Aleksey Savarsenko and Veremeenko free throws closed the gap to 49-43 through three quarters.
Cook’s court vision gifted baskets to Rocca and Stefano Mancinelli before the whole team got involved sharing the ball to arrange an open triple for Nicholas to make it 56-45. Lynn Greer penetrated for a tough basket and Nachbar knocked down an open jumper as Unics battled back within 7. Domercant provided a highlight with a spin to get loose and pull-up triple that made it 56-52 midway through the fourth quarter. Following an Armani timeout, Fotsis scored a tough basket in traffic. After several empty possessions from both teams, Domercant drew a foul shooting a three-pointer and made the resulting 3 free throws to make it 60-57 with 2:23 remaining. But Domercant missed from downtown and fouled out going for the rebound on the next offensive possession. Cook split the free throws from that foul and Fotsis rejected Veremeenko at the other side. Greer was unable to fill the offensive void and Rocca’s clutch offensive rebound in the closing seconds help Milan kill the clock. Cook sank 2 free throws with 11.6 seconds left and even though Nachbar minimized the deficit from the line, Milan walked away smiling.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012