Caja Laboral, after beating Olimpija 62-53
Armani Jeans Milano stormed back to the Top 16 race with an 82-69 win over Asseco Prokom at MediolanumForum on Thursday night. Morris Finley scored 20 and Marius Petravicus added 18 points and 7 rebounds as Milano won back-to-back games for the first time this season, improving its record to 3-5, while dropping the Polish champs to the same record. More importantly, it cancelled the out Prokom's 5-point win from earlier this season in Poland, giving Milano the potential head-to-head tiebreak advantage if they finish the season on even terms. Milano visits Khimki Moscow Region in a tough Week 9 test after the winter break. Prokom visits Panathinaikos for its next contest. The hosts pulled away in the second quarter as Petravicus scored 7 during a 13-0 run that helped Milano to a 42-28 halftime lead. The lead reached 20 in the third quarter, but Prokom never quit. Dan Ewing helped Prokom fight back and Junior Harrington made it a 5-point game early in the fourth quarter. However Massimo Bulleri stepped up with a clutch three, one of a few key scores he had in the fourth quarter to ensure the victory. Stefano Mancinelli added 14 points and Bulleri had 10 for the winners. Ewing finished with a season-high 21 points for Prokom and Qyntel Woods added 15 in defeat.
David Logan got things started in an ideal way for the visitors with a three-pointer on the first possession. Mancinelli scored Milano’s first points from the line before Logan made it 2-5. Mason Rocca converted a three-point play to knot the score before Finley gave the hosts their first lead with a three-pointer. Marco Mordente pulled up for a mid-range jumper and Jonas Maciulis increased the hosts’ lead to 12-5. Logan and Ronnie Burrell started to spark the Prokom attack, though Mancinelli answered from the other side. Ewing went through the Armani Jeans defense without problem for a layup, but Mancinelli also scored with ease and Finley’s steal and layup increased the lead to 7. Ewing went through Finley for a three-point play to bring his team with 20-16 after 10 minutes.
Woods started the second quarter with a pair of baskets to bring his team within 2 points. Finley and Logan traded baskets to make it 24-22. Petravicius’s first basket was cancelled out by a pair of Ewing free throws. Logan brought Prokom within 1 point midway through the quarter. Petravicius helped Milano pull away with back-to-back baskets in the paint. Maciulis took the hosts’ lead to double figures with a one-handed shot for a three-point play in the paint. Another Maciulis basket coming on the break off an assist from Finley led to a Prokom timeout. The momentum remained with the hosts though as Maciulis found Mordente for a fast break layup. Adam Hrycaniuk ended a four-minute Prokom drought with a pair of free throws, but Rocca made 2 from the line to give Armani Jeans a 42-28 lead at the break.
Armani Jeans looked to put the game on ice as three-pointers by Mancinelli and Finley helped the hosts take the lead to 48-30 just one minute into the second half. Rocca scored on the offensive glass as the lead reached 20. Adam Lapeta scored a basket-plus-foul and Woods added a basket as the visitors clawed their way back within 13. Maciulis answered for Milano, but Woods was heating up. He scored on Prokom's next three possessions – including once from downtown – but Mancinelli and Finley always had an answer. Ewing drilled a triple to get the visitors within 10 and soon after sank 2 free throws as Prokom started to believe. A pair of Mancinelli free throws made it 59-49 at the end of the quarter.
Harrington fed Jan Jagla inside and then attacked the basket himself for a three-point play that dropped the deficit to 5. Bulleri came to Armani Jeans’ rescue with a three-point bomb and Petravicius added a tip-in to restore a double-digit lead. Ewing hit a foul line jumper, but Petravicus had a basket-plus-foul as the hosts regained control. Ewing continued to lead the Prokom charge and drilled another triple. Bulleri pushed the hosts up to 12 ahead, only for Burrell and Woods to get back within 8. But that was as close as it would get. Petravicius scored inside, Mancinelli from the line and then baskets from Rocca and Bullerii made it a 15-point game and sealed the outcome with time to spare.
Thursday, December 17, 2009