Milan downs Fenerbahce, ends long losing streak
AX Armani Exchange Milan won its third consecutive game, downing visiting Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 87-74 on Friday night at Mediolanum Forum. The victory ended Milan's 10-game losing streak against Fenerbahce, and improved the team to a 3-1 record on the season, while Fenerbahce dropped to 1-3. Milan took control with a 14-0 first-quarter run to open a double-digit lead, and Fenerbahce never came closer than 7 points the rest of the way. Milan led by as many as 17 points, and was never really threatened. Sergio Rodriguez paced the winners with 22 points and 5 assists, while center Arturas Gudaitis returned in style after long injury layoff with 17 points. Amedeo Della Valle netted 15 points for Milan. Joffrey Lauvergne, another returnee from injury, collected 14 points and 8 rebounds, while Jan Vesely had 14 points and 7 rebounds for Fenerbahce. Nando De Colo scored 12 points in defeat.
Milan scored on just one of its first eight field goal attempts, but then got going behind Della Valle who scored 10 points during a 14-0 run, including back-to-back triples, and with help from Gudaitis and Kaleb Tarczewski the hosts opened an 18-6 lead. Fenerbahce was without a basket for almost 5 minutes before Lauvergne hit a corner three. The hosts held a 20-11 edge after 10 minutes, but Fenerbahce got an offensive spark with an alley-oop dunk and a tip-in from Vesely, and a corner three-pointer from Derrick Williams cut it to 26-18. But Rodriguez turned unstoppable in the second quarter, and together with Gudaitis combined to score 13 points in a 15-6 charge that opened a 41-24 margin. Vesely cut it to 41-29 at halftime, then a three-pointer from Luigi Datome and close range buckets from Vesely and Lauvergne helped bring it back to 47-40. But Della Valle hit a triple and a coast-to-coast layup to restore a double-digit margin, which a three-point play from Gudaitis extended to 57-44. Melih Mahmutoglu hit two triples late in the third quarter to prevent Milan from running away with it and the final quarter began 66-55. A three-pointer from Williams got Fenerbahce within 68-60 early in the fourth, but Rodriguez answered right back with a three, and Michael Roll added a pair of triples to extend the lead to 79-64, allowing Milan to close it out.
10-game streak ends
Fenerbahce won its last 10 games against Milan going into this contest, but Milan ended that streak, registering its first head-to-head win since March 2014. This loss also marks the first time Fenerbahce had three loses through four rounds since 2006.
Milan set the tone in the first half on both ends of the floor. First behind Amedeo Della Valle who scored 10 points in the first quarter, then Sergio Rodriguez pulled the strings scoring 12 points in the second quarter. Defensively, Milan held the visitors to 2-for-10 three-point shooting and just 1 offensive rebound in the first half.
Coaching legends finally meet
Milan's Ettore Messina and Fenerbahce's Zeljko Obradovic, two head coaches who have combined to win 13 EuroLeague titles in the past 27 years, went head to head for the first time since December of 2013.
Big men return
Both teams got a big boost in this game, with Milan's Arturas Gudaitis and Fenerbahce's Joffrey Lauvergne returning from injury after months of absence. Both players scored their first baskets within the first 5 minutes of the game, and were among each team's best performers.
Next week both teams will start on the road in Round 5. Milan visits ALBA Berlin on Tuesday, and Fenerbahce travels to play Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
Friday, October 25, 2019