EA7 Milan edges Bamberg to book Top 16 spot
EA7 Emporio Armani Milan booked its spot in the Top 16 by knocking off Brose Baskets Bamberg 74-73 on Friday in Group B. Alessandro Gentile made 2 free throws with 17 seconds left and Curtis Jerrells came up with a steal in the final second to secure the victory, which pushed Milan to 5-4 and into the next round. Gani Lawal paced the hosts with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks while Gentile scored 16 points and Keith Langford had 15. The game was a tight affair throughout with 9 points the biggest margin for either team. Bamberg dropped to 3-6, but still has a chance to advance. Anton Gavel scored 15 points to lead the German champs, Novica Velickovic added 14 and Rakim Sanders 13.
First quarter: Bamberg takes early lead, but Milan comes back
Milan boss Luca Banchi made two changes to his starting lineup with David Chiotti and Nicolo Melli coming in to start along with Langford, Jerrells and Gentile. Bamberg coach Chris Fleming trusted his same starting five with John Goldsberry, Gavel, Casey Jacobsen, Velickovic and Maik Zirbes. Bamberg did a good job getting the ball into the post early with Velickovic and Zirbes both hitting inside and then Gavel nailing a trey from the right corner for an 0-7 lead. Langford’s jumper got Milan on the scoring board but the guests went back down low to Zirbes and Velickovic to open a 2-11 lead. Langford nailed a triple and Chiotti hit inside to get it to within 7-11. Sanders came on and nailed a trey from the left wing for a 7-14 lead. Langford countered with a long ball of his own and Jerrells also hit from downtown after a Zack Wright turnover to make it 13-14. Zirbes and Jacobsen pushed it back to a five point lead and it was 15-20 after D’Or Fischer’s jump hook. Milan scored the next five points to knot the game before Jamar Smith knocked down a trey just before the buzzer to give Bamberg a 20-23 lead after one quarter.
Second quarter: Lawal dominates paint at both ends
Sanders hit a free throw and put back a miss to push the margin to 20-26. Milan’s first basket came after Fischer blocked Langford but Lawal was right there to throw down a dunk. Langford scooped in a shot and Lawal made two free throws to knot it at 26-26. Gentile’s jumper gave the hosts their first lead at 32-30. Lawal put down another dunk before Gavel nailed a trey to put Bamberg back ahead 32-33. Gentile converted two free throws after a foul and unsportsmanlike foul on Jacobsen for a 34-33 advantage. The score stayed like that for some time. Lawal was a big reason for that as he blocked shots by Jacobsen, Gavel and Zirbes to keep Bamberg from adding points. Gentile increased the lead to four points with a three-ball before Gavel split two free throws for Bamberg’s first point in more than three minutes at 37-34. And that was the score at the break.
Third quarter: Bamberg do not let Milan pull away
Melli opened the second half with two scores to push the advantage to 41-34 before Smith’s triple got Bamberg on the board and to within 41-37. Bamberg got into the bonus after only four minutes and Gavel hit two free throws to cut it to two and Goldsberry’s three-ball pushed the guests ahead and Banchi wanted a timeout with his team down 41-42. But Bamberg increased it to 41-44 on a Smith layup in transition. Lawal put back an offensive rebound and David Moss knocked down a corner trey as Milan went back ahead. The lead switched hands two more times before Sanders drained a three-pointer for a 48-50 Bamberg scoreline. Jerrells answered with three points but it was a Bamberg lead 51-52 after three quarters as Wright hit a layup.
Fourth quarter: Gentile, Jerrells produce heroics
Gavel’s jumper to start the fourth was answered by a Moss trey to even it at 54-54. But Gavel hit a tough lefty layup and Sanders’ offensive rebound and putback made it 54-59. Milan punched right back with Lawal converting a three-point play and then throwing down an alley-oop dunk to knot it at 59-59. Bamberg hit the next four points but watched as Milan evened the score at 63-63. Gentile twice tied the game after Bamberg scored and Jerrells made it 69-69. A Fischer dunk and two Velickovic free throws made it 69-73. With the ball and a chance to work some clock, Smith jacked up a trey and missed with plenty of time on the shot clock. Gentile was then fouled and split two free throws and Melli put back his own miss to cut it to 72-73 with 39 seconds left. Wright missed a layup with 19 seconds left and fouled Gentile on the rebound. The Milan star knocked down both foul shots with 17 seconds left for a 74-73 lead. Smith’s jumper was just off and Sanders grabbed the rebound but Jerrells stripped him of the ball to secure the win.
Friday, December 13, 2013