Milan wins OT thriller in Gran Canaria
In a thriller that went down to the final shot of overtime, AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan recorded a critical road win by downing Herbalife Gran Canaria 104-106. Milan improved to 10-11 in the standings and ranks 9th overall, with the same wins as KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz. Gran Canaria ranks 14th with a 6-15 record and is on a six-game losing streak. Vladimir Micov led the winners with 24 points. Mike James and debutant James Nunnally each added 22 while Mindaugas Kuzminskas had 12 for Milan. Marcus Eriksson led Gran Canaria with 28 points. Clevin Hannah and Kim Tillie each added 12 while D.J. Strawberry had 10 for the hosts. A dramatic three-pointer by Eriksson sent the game to overtime, 89-89. Once in the extra period, Nunnally and Micov made sure Milan returned home with a good-as-gold road win.
James got Milan going with a fast break layup and Dairis Bertans added a three-pointer for a 1-5 lead. Luke Fischer banked in a close shot but free throws by Arturas Gudaitis and a triple by James boosted the guests' lead to 3-10. James followed free throws with a floater that made it a double-digit game, 6-17. Strawberry struck twice from downtown and Eriksson bettered James's jumper with a three-pointer that kept Gran Canaria within 15-19. Eriksson sank foul shots and a three-pointer by Eulis Baez tied it at 21-21. Micov and Anzejs Pasecniks traded baskets, and a deep three-pointer by Eriksson gave Gran Canaria a 28-27 lead after 10 minutes. Eriksson downed a floater early in the second quarter but Gudaitis followed a dunk with free throws to make Milan regain the lead, 30-31, soon before getting injured and leaving the game. Nunnally scored in penetration and Kuzminskas hit free throws but Oriol Pauli and Ondrej Balvin kept Gran Canaria within 34-35. Eriksson made back-to-back three-pointers and Hannah sank foul shots to restore a 42-37 margin. Siim Sander Vene and James scored around the basket and free throws by Xavi Rabaseda fixed the halftime score at 46-39. Micov, Rabaseda and James each struck from downtown soon after the break. Kuzminskas hit foul shots and dunked but three-pointers by Hannah and Tillie kept the hosts way ahead. Bertans joined the three-point shootout, Micov and Eriksson exchanged step-back jumpers and a turnaround shot by Albert Oliver restored a 64-55 Gran Canaria lead. Micov and Kuzminskas each had 4 points in a 0-10 run that allowed Milan to get the lead, 64-65. Strawberry and Eriksson exchanged triples for a 67-68 score after 30 minutes. A floater by Nunnally tied the game, 70-70, early in the fourth quarter. Balvin scored down low but a jumper by James and back-to-back dunks by Alen Omic put Milan back ahead, 72-76. Siim-Sander Vene and Nunnally traded triples and a layup by Omic made it 75-81. James fouled out but Micov and Nunnally kept the guests in charge, 80-85, with under 4 minutes left. Tillie made a power layup, Micov scored in penetration and a jumper by Pasecniks got Gran Canaria within 84-87. Hannah downed a jumper before Micov made two free throws with 18.7 seconds left, but an unbelievable three-pointer by Eriksson off one leg sent the game to overtime, 89-89, as Nunnally missed from downtown at the buzzer.
Hannah hit free throws early in overtime but Nunnally followed a layup with foul shots for a 91-94 Milan edge. Jeff Brooks did not miss from the foul line but a three-pointer by Hannah kept the hosts within 94-96. Nunnally scored in penetration, Balvin sank free throws and so did Kuzminskas for a 96-100 Milan lead with 1:08 left. Tillie made put-back layup before a three-pointer by Micov seemed to seal the outcome, 98-103. But Baez answered from downtown, Nunnally hit free throws and a three-pointer by Tillie kept Gran Canaria within 104-105 with 8.4 seconds left. The hosts fouled on Nunnally, who split attempts with 6.4 seconds remaining, but Eriksson missed from downtown at the buzzer as Milan held on.
James Nunnally made his EuroLeague return and tied his career-high with 22 points on very good shooting percentages: 5-of-8 two-point shots, 2-of-3 from downtown and 6-of-7 free throws. He scored 10 of Milan's 17 points in overtime. Nunnally added 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 fouls drawn for a PIR of 21.
Gran Canaria led 64-55 late in the third quarter and seemed to have full control of the game, but Micov and Kuzminskas each had 4 points in a 0-10 run that allowed Milan to regain the lead, 64-65. It was a balanced game the rest of the way.
Despite losing Gudaitis midway through the game, Milan dominated the boards, outrebounding Gran Canaria by 29-46. Milan had 14 offensive rebounds and a season-high 32 defensive boards. Those 46 rebounds tie for the second-best mark in the EuroLeague this season - Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv had 50 rebounds against Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul on December 6, 2018.
Did you notice?
It was the highest scoring game of the season, with the teams combining for 210 points. It was also the 17th highest scoring game in EuroLeague history. Fortitudo Bologna and Panathinaikos Athens combined for 232 points in the highest-scoring game of all-time on January 14, 2004.
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action next week: Gran Canaria visits Anadolu Efes Istanbul on Thursday, and a day later Milan hosts Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul.
Friday, February 1, 2019