Armani Jeans Milano improved to 2-0 in Group E by holding on for a 60-62 win at Asseco Prokom on Thursday night. Armani Jeans won its fifth in a row going back to the regular season and now sits alone in first place in the group before visiting Tau Ceramica next week. The game came down to the closing seconds when the Polish champs had the ball down 1, but Mike Hall stripped the ball from Ronnie Burrell and the hosts fouled Luc Vitali. However after Vitali missed the second free throw, Prokom had 4.2 seconds left to get off a shot. This time Burrell passed the ball out of bounds and Milano celebrated the win. Such was the story for Prokom on a night that it committed 24 turnovers as it dropped its ninth game in a row. Hollis Price dominated early as he amassed 17 points, 2 steals and 2 assists in the first period alone before finishing with 19 points for the winners. David Hawkins added 16 points and 4 steals and Pape Sow grabbed 9 rebounds against his former team. David Logan paced Prokom with 16 points, Burrell added 11 and 3 blocks and Pat Burke posted 10 points and 8 rebounds in just 23 minutes before fouling out.
The game got off to fast-paced start with Daniel Ewing firing the first points from downtown. After Burrell scored an acrobatic layup, the Prokom press led to a Logan steal and basket for a 7-0 lead. Price’s jumper got Milano on the scoreboard, but Burrell stretched the home team’s lead to 8 with a triple. A Hall triple kept Armani Jeans from falling apart and Hawkins later fired in a three to cut the gap to 2. The damage continued to be done from outside as Logan nailed a three. However Price heated up at that point, scoring the game’s next 7 points to put Milano up for the first time, 13-15. A Prokom timeout as Hawkins sliced through the defense for a slam. The hosts looked to the bench to get some energy and Filip Dylewicz responded with a drive, but Price answered with a three as Armani Jeans stayed in control. Logan unloaded a big three, only to see a red-hot Price match him. Price then capped an incredible opening period with a steal and layup to give him 17 and Milano an 18-25 lead after 10 minutes.
Burke muscled his way inside to open the second period with a basket-plus-foul. Yohann Sangare’s pull-up jumper was matched by a pair of Logan free throws. Price sat down for a breather, but Sangare hit a three to keep Milano going. Free throws from Burke narrowed the gap before a Przemyslaw Zamojski triple made it 29-32. Qyntel Woods went coast to coast for a basket and Burke scored in the paint to put the hosts ahead. Sow scored on the offensive glass and then Dylewicz went baseline as the lead changed hands. Sow stole the ball from Logan and fed Price for an easy layup and then Hawkins set Sow up for a power slam as Armani Jeans took a 35-38 lead into the halftime break.
Sow corrected his own miss for a basket a minute into the second half and then Burke committed an offensive foul at the other end, leading Prokom head coach Tomas Pacesas to sit him with 3 fouls. A reverse layup by Hawkins upped the Milano lead to 7. Logan ended a three-minute scoreless stretch for the hoists with a triple. Vitali slashed his way to a basket that made it 38-46 midway through the period. And Hawkins gave Milano its double-digit lead with a pair of free throws. Dylewicz stepped up for Prokom, first sighting his way inside for a basket and then producing a steal that led to a Logan slam. However a Hawkins basket seemed to kill the hosts’ momentum. After Hawkins fed Mason Rocca inside, the lead was up to 11 and Prokom needed a timeout. The hosts missed a chance to get closer when Burke missed twice from the line, but Ewing did hit a long jumper to make it 44-53 at the end of the third period.
Logan came out firing in the fourth quarter with a three-pointer and Burke came up with a big block on Mindaugas Katelynas at the other end. And then Zamojski cut the gap even more with a triple. Ewing free throws extended Prokom’s run to 10 unanswered points with 2 free throws before Logan fed Burrell for a slam gave the hosts a 54-53 lead. Burke capped 14-0 charge with a basket in the paint. Vitali rifled in a three to tie the score at 56-56, but Vitali committed an unsportsmanlike foul on Burrell that led to 2 free throws. As the pressure increased, so did the defensive intensity, while both teams missed from outside. Burke picked up another offensive foul and was done for the night. Hall corrected a Hawkins miss to tie the score at 58-58 with two-and-a-half minutes to play. Hawkins put Milano up 2 with a basket with 1:10 left. Burrell tied it with a power slam with 35 seconds remaining. Hawkins put Milano up with a free throw with 23 seconds on the clock, but Prokom had a chance to come back and score. However Hall stripped the ball from Burrell. Vitali went to the line to ice the game. He made the first and missed the second, but a careless pass by Burrell went out of bounds and Milano held on for the win.
Thursday, February 5, 2009