|A direct fight to stay in the Top 16 race in Group D takes place in Milano, Italy, where Armani Jeans hosts Polish champion Asseco Prokom on Thursday night. Prokom is fourth in the group at 3-4 with Armani Jeans right behind at 2-5. In fact, Prokom will qualify with a victory if EWE Baskets Oldenburg loses against BC Khimki Moscow Region, too. Milano is without Alex Acker and reserve center Joey Beard. With Acker sidelined, Marco Mordente and Jonas Maciulis will likely start at the wings. Head coach Piero Bucchi has been using Stefano Mancinelli as Milano's starting power forward to open the court with his quickness, driving skills and shooting range. Jeff Viggiano is ready to offer intensity and instant offense off the bench. Maciulis has the tough mission to face Qyntel Woods, who was been unstoppable lately, averaging 26 points in his team's back-to-back wins against EWE Baskets and Real Madrid. Woods was limited to 5 point in Prokom's win against Milano in November. Mordente and Viggiano will also have a tough matchup against scoring ace David Logan. Lukasz Seweryn and Mateusz Kostrzewski will help off the bench, but are not expected to play a major role. Daniel Ewing and Junior Harrington will share the point guard duties for Prokom. Harrington has given Prokom intensity, on-the-ball defense and penetration skills. Ewing offers court sense and experience. Harrington is ready for a key matchup against Morris Finley, who had 25 points against Prokom last month. Ewing must be ready to guard veteran playmaker Massimo Bulleri, always ready to pull the trigger from downtown or find the open man in transition. Milano counts on star center Marius Petravicius to see extended playing time in this do-or-die game. Petravicius leads a deep frontcourt that also includes Mancinelli, three-point threat Mike Hall and rebounding machine Mason Rocca. Hall is set to test his shooting skills against Jan Jagla. Rocca has a very interesting matchup against Ronnie Burrell, while Petravicius must face former Milano center Pape Sow and Adam Hrycaniuk. Prokom must get Woods and Logan involved and run its offense through them in order to get its third consecutive win and make it to the Top 16. AJ Milano must slow down the game tempo, stop Woods and get good games from Maciulis and Finley. Above all, it is a make-or-break game for both teams, so expect one of the most intense games so far in this Euroleague season.
REFEREES: Sasa Pukl, Juan Carlos Garcia Gonzalez, Robert Vyklicky
Armani Jeans Milano
Morris Finley scored a career-high 25 points against Asseco Prokom in Week 3.
Marius Petravicius scored a season-high 20 points against Asseco Prokom in Week 3.
Mike Hall scored a season-high 13 points last week against EWE Baskets Oldenburg.
Armani Jeans is tied for the fewest blocked shots of any team in the Euroleague this season (6).
Asseco Prokom Gdynia
Pape Sow played for Armani Jeans Milano last season under head coach Piero Bucchi and alongside five of its current players.
David Logan has scored in double figures in 18 straight Euroleague games. He has also made at least one three-pointer in 18 straight games.
Logan has picked up at least 1 steal in all 22 Euroleague games in which he has played.
Logan scored a season-high 23 points in Week 3 against Armani Jeans.
Qyntel Woods scored a career-high 27 points last week against Real Madrid.
Adam Hrycaniuk scored a career-high 12 points last week against Real Madrid.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009