In a game for pride between two already-eliminated teams, Le Mans kept proving it might have done better with better luck as it outgunned Armani Jeans Milano 63-83 on the road in Group B. The game ended the Euroleague seasons for both teams with Milano in seventh place at 3-11 and Le Mans in eighth at 2-12. Luka Bogdanovic led five double-figure scorers for Le Mans with 17 points, Phil Ricci added 16, Raviv Limonad and Alain Koffi 13 each, and Nicolas Batum 12 for the winners. Milano, playing without star youngster Danilo Gallinari, who was injured, got 18 points and 16 rebounds from Travis Watson. Stefano Gentile and Dusan Vukcevic chipped in 12 points each and Ansu Sesay 11 for Milano.
Vukcevic opened the game with twin three-pointers that gave Milano an early 6-2 lead that it nursed behind points from Watson and Mindaugas Katelynas to lead 14-9. Bogdanovic and Nebojsa Bogavac rallied Le Mans with triples to within 18-16 at the end of one quarter.
Milano stretched its lead again to 22-16 on baskets by Casey Shaw and Ansu Sesay early in the second quarter, but Le Mans soon began its takeover with defense. On the other end, Limond, Koffi, Bogdanovic, Jeremy Leloup and Batum in turn filled up a 0-13 run. After Sesay got a couple free throws, it continued with Leloup and Antoine Diot extending the lead to 24-33 before Bogdanovic's triple sparked a 0-7 finishing run good for a 28-42 Le Mans lead at halftime.
Despite Watson's efforts for Milano, the trend continued after the half with Batum and Ricci pushing the lead to 33-49 for Le Mans. Batum and Bogdanovic's back-to-back triples later in the third quarter made it 37-56, putting the handwriting on the wall for a 48-65 difference after three quarters.
Nothing about the fourth quarter changed things, as Le Mans was content to trade baskets and Milano could not summon the defense necessary to rally for its fans. The difference hovered around 20 points the whole time and settled there, at 63-83, when the buzzer sounded to end both teams' Euroleague seasons.
Thursday, January 31, 2008