| The first-ever Euroleague game in Oldenburg, Germany ended up a disappointment for the home fans but a major boost for the visitors as Armani Jeans Milano rallied to defeat EWE Baskets 70-79 in Group D. Milano's first victory in Group D came after a fourth-quarter blast that featured a flurry of 5 three-pointers in as many minutes and 10 points in the final 4 by Mason Rocca. Both teams are now 1-1 and will share a spot in the middle of the Group D table. In what was a back-and-forth scoreboard most of the way, Oldenburg led 59-54 early in the final quarter, before Jonas Maciulis, Morris Finley and Marco Mordente unleashed a trio of three-pointers that put the visitors in front the rest of the way. Maciulis led the winners with 18 points, while Rocca had 16, most of those sustaining the lead down the stretch. Mordente and Michael Hall added 11 points each. Milano also ruled the backboards, out-rebounding Oldenburg 23-37 overall and 7 to 14 on the offensive glass. For the hosts, Je'Kel Foster poured in 20 points, while Jasmin Perkovic followed with 16, Rickey Paulding 12 and Marko Scekic 10.
The sellout crowd of more than 5,000 Oldenburg fans seeing their first-ever Euroleague team saw their team fall behind as Mariusz Petravicius, Stefano Mancinelli and Maciulis scored quickly for a 2-6 Milano lead. The hosts didn't take long to fix their defense. Meanwhile, Foster and Perkovic combined on 6 consecutive points to claim Oldenburg's first lead, 8-6. Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje rolled to the basked for a hook at 10-6, but Petravicius found Acker out of the double team for a two-hand slam. After a timeout, Oldenburg began finding break opportunities, with Perkovic downing one and Paulding finishing a steal at 14-9. The Oldenburg defense proved tough for Milano to break through Rocca got to the free throw line, but Foster matched him to sustain the hosts lead at 16-11 after 10 minutes.
Milano got its first easy shot in a while to start the second quarter, and Maciulis draiined it from long range. But the visitors' defense also let Marko Scekic loose for an easy layup to keep Oldenburg in charge at 19-14. Mike Hall dropped a mid-range jumper and Maciulis got to the line to hit 2 free throws as Milano inched to within a single point, at 19-18. Scekic stopped Oldenburg's slide with a layup, and then Carter got the home fans out of their seats with a big triple from the wing at 24-18. Milano needed a timeout, after which Finley canned his first basket while Hall chased an offensive rebound to the corner and drained a triple from there to make it 24-23. Oldenburg needed the next timeout, after which Foster and Marco Mordente buried dueling triples. Another offensive rebound by Milano let Hall tied it 18-18. Perkovic and Maciulis exchanged inside baskets before Finley broke another tie at 33-34. Foster waltzed for a layup to take it back for Oldenburg, whose defense held strong in the final minute for a 35-34 halftime advantage.
Paulding stayed a step ahead as Paulding opened up the second half with another layup. Acker answered quickly for Milan, whose next possession featured 3 offensive rebounds until Mancinelli scored alone for a new visitors' lead, 37-38. Paulding and Mancinelli traded points and leads again before Foster broke through for a basket and a 41-40 home lead. A parade of free throws ensued after which Foster again broke a tie with a layup and Paulding copied him to put Oldenburg up 47-43. Milano got its first basket in minutes by Mason Rocca, and Maciulis followed him to a 47-47 tie. . Again, Oldenburg spurted ahead, on 4 free throws by Perkovic, but Rocca got half of them back to leave a 51-49 scoreboard after 30 minutes.
The scoring suddenly picked up to start the final quarter as Scekic fired Oldenburg ahead from downtown by 54-49. Mordente was able to help Milan keep pace with 5 points in a row, including his own shot from long range, at 56-54. Scekic returned to the arc and buried a big shot, but he was now giving Milan ideas. Boom, boom, boom over the next minute-and-a-half, first Maciulis, then Morris and then Mordente again unloaded from the three-point arc as Milano suddenly seized a 59-63 lead and quieted the home crowd. Even when Carter got the hosts back within 62-63, Milano was not done as Hall joined the three-point party at 62-66. Oldenburg had its own answer from deep, Paulding, but Maciulis went inside to keep the visitors a step ahead, 65-68, with under 4 minutes left. After an Oldenburg timeout, Rocca got loose underneath to lengthen Milano's advantage, and then got yet another rebound, was fouled and hit free throws to make it 65-72. And he was not done. Rocca got free again not once, but twice, the second time on a nice feed by Finley, for his own personal 0-8 run that put the game out of reach and Milano in the win column in Group D.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009