Milan bests CSKA to climb into second
AX Armani Exchange Milan led from start to finish in collecting a 76-84 victory over CSKA Moscow at Megasport Arena in the Russian capital on Thursday night. Kevin Punter erupted for a career-high 32 points and Kyle Hines marked his return to his former home with 7 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks for Milan, which improved to 19-10 and overtook CSKA for second place in the standings. CSKA slipped to 18-10. Shavon Shields added 14 points off the bench and Zach LeDay scored 12 for the winners, who led 10-30 – CSKA's largest deficit ever at home after 10 minutes. Mike James paced the CSKA attack with 21 points and 5 assists, Toko Shengelia posted 20 points, 10 rebounds and 4 steals and Will Clyburn scored 10 in defeat.
Hines opened the scoring with a three-point play. More than 2 and a half minutes passed before Darrun Hilliard got CSKA on the scoreboard with free throws. Punter and Michael Roll pushed Milan to a 6-15 lead midway through the opening quarter. A CSKA timeout did little to change the momentum as Punter and LeDay jumpers extended the margin. Shields capped a 2-17 run with a jumper that made it 8-27. The lead reached 20 on a three by Shields that ended the first quarter at 10-30. James stepped up for CSKA with 8 points in an 11-2 push to start the second quarter. Johannes Voigtmann's tip-in cut the deficit to 10 and Toko Shengelia took charge and made it 34-39. Punter scored the next 8 points to leave Milan ahead 34-47 at the break.
Joel Bolomboy scored twice as CSKA started the second half with a 7-2 tear. A triple by Shengelia trimmed the gap to 46-52, but Punter kept Milan rolling. Threes by Sergio Rodriguez, Shields and Luigi Datome gave Milan a 55-70 lead at the end of the third quarter. A jumper by Shields put Milan up by 17, however, CSKA was not done as James and Daniel Hackett buried back-to-back triples and Clyburn added a basket-plus-foul in a 9-0 run to make it 64-72. Despite a basket by Punter, CSKA further shrunk the margin to 68-74. After a Voigtmann three got the hosts within 73-79 with 2 and a half minutes remaining, Milan called a timeout. Punter knocked down his fifth three to all but put the game to bed. CSKA battled on to try to salvage the head-to-head tiebreaker, but Punter ensured Milan won that, too.
Kevin Punter never cooled down in the game. He scored 7 first-quarter points and added 10 in the second – including the final 8 points of the half after CSKA had closed to within 5. Punter tacked on 5 points in the third quarter before netting 10 in the fourth to secure the win. He finished with a career-high 32 points and 5-of-9 three-point shooting. He was also 9 for 9 from the foul line. The threes made and free-throw accuracy also marked personal bests, though his PIR of 28 is also tied for his third-best.
Milan made more shots from every range at better percentages. Milan sank 20 two-pointers at 55.6%, 10 threes at 43.5% and 14 free throws at 87.5%. CSKA scored 19 twos at 46.3%, 9 triples at 29.0% and 11 foul shots at 68.8%.
History for Hines
Former CSKA captain Kyle Hines made a successful return to his former home both from a team and an individual standpoint. He scored 7 points to tie Alexey Shved of Khimki Moscow Region for 12th place on the EuroLeague all-time scoring charts with 2,692 points. Hines also tied Igor Rakocevic for 14th place in EuroLeague history with his 559th free throw made.
CSKA faces another tough test in Round 30 when it visits the Spanish capital to take on Real Madrid on Thursday, March 18. The following day, Milan hosts top-ranked FC Barcelona.
Thursday, March 11, 2021