Milan edges Valencia to snap losing streak
AX Armani Exchange Milan ended its five-game losing streak by downing Valencia Basket 78-71 at home on Thursday. Milan improved to 8-7 in the standings while Valencia dropped to 6-9. Amedeo Della Valle led the winners with 15 points, Vladimir Micov and Kaleb Tarczewski each added 13 and Sergio Rodriguez had 10 for Milan. Tarczewski added 10 rebounds for a double-double. Bojan Dubljevic led Valencia with 20 points - all in the first half. Mike Tobey added 11 for the visitors. Valencia led 39-43 late in the first half before Rodriguez and Della Valle fueled a 14-0 run that made it a double-digit game, 53-43, soon after the break. Milan led 62-51 late in the third quarter, however, Sam Van Rossom and Louis Labeyrie brought Valencia within 66-63 with 6 minutes left. Luis Scola and Micov stepped up to make the difference down the stretch.
Dubljevic got Valencia going with back-to-back three-pointers and a put-back layup for a 2-8 lead. Micov stepped up with a couple of driving layups in a 7-0 run highlighted by Michael Roll's corner triple. Dubljevic struck again from downtown, but Tarczewski scored twice in the paint for a 14-11 Milan lead. Van Rossom fed Tobey for an alley-oop dunk and added a three-pointer Maurice Ndour scored in transition to give Valencia a 16-18 edge. Shelvin Mack scored down low, but Aaron Doornekamp and Tobey each hit off-balance jumpers to keep their team ahead. Della Valle rescued Milan with 8 quick points, including a buzzer-beating layup that put the hosts in charge, 26-24, after 10 minutes. Della Valle kept pushing Milan early in the second quarter and got help from Arturas Gudaitis and Riccardo Moraschini to make it 32-26. Vanja Marinkovic tried to change things with a backdoor layup and Colom scored in penetration, but Della Valle struck from beyond the arc for a 35-30 Milan lead. Ndour and Dubljevic scored around the basket, but Roll and Rodriguez kept the hosts ahead, 39-34. Colom and Dubljevic combined for all the points in a 0-9 run that established a 39-43 Valencia lead. Rodriguez rescued Milan with a backdoor layup and a buzzer-beating basket by Della Valle tied the game, 43-43, at halftime.
Scola hit a jumper right after the break and Rodriguez scored twice in penetration before Valencia called timeout at 51-43. Tarczewski capped a 14-0 run from the foul line as Van Rossom stepped up with a driving layup and found Tobey for an alley-oop basket. Milan found scoring options for Tarczewski and Gudaitis down low, who joined forces to boost the hosts' lead to 62-51. Van Rossom got Valencia a bit closer, 62-53, after 30 minutes. Gudaitis and Micov each scored around the basket for a 66-54 Milan lead early in the fourth quarter. Ndour and Labeyrie tried to change things for Valencia and Van Rossom added a jumper that gave the visitors hope at 66-60. Labeyrie struck from beyond the arc to cap a 0-9 run, as Scola gave Milan fresh air with a three-pointer. Tarczewski dunked and Rodriguez added an electric driving layup, but Labeyrie and Colom kept Valencia within 73-67 in the next-to-last minute. Micov hit a corner triple that sealed the outcome.
Amedeo Della Valle gave Milan a spark in the first half when the hosts were struggling the most and beat the buzzer at the end of the first and second quarters. He finished the game with 15 points on 4-of-5 two-point shooting, 1-of-2 three-pointers and 4-of-4 free throws plus 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 2 fouls drawn for a PIR of 18.
Valencia managed to get within 66-63 with 6 minutes left, but Milan found a go-to guy in Scola, who struck from downtown and fed Tarczewski for a dunk that boosted the hosts' margin to 71-63. Valencia did not give up, but Milan kept full control of the game until the final buzzer.
Milan was effective inside (26-of-46 2FG, 56.5%) and limited Valencia to just 6-of-28 shooting from downtown. Dubljevic hit 4 without a miss, but the rest of the team combined to shoot 8.3%. Milan also took excellent care of the ball and had just 7 turnovers.
Did you notice?
It was the first home win for either team against the other. Milan and Valencia had played four times before this game and the road team had always won.
Both teams return to EuroLeague action next week. Milan visits CSKA Moscow in the Russian capital on Thursday, December 26. A day later, Valencia faces Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul at Ulker Sports Arena.
Thursday, December 19, 2019