2020-21Regular SeasonRound 10
November 20, 2020 CET: 20:45
Local time: 20:45 MEDIOLANUM FORUM

Milan survives Zalgiris rally, 98-92

AX Armani Exchange Milan ended its two-game losing streak by rolling up the points to defeat visiting Zalgris Kaunas 98-92 at home in Mediolanum Forum on Friday. The hosts built a 20-point lead early in the third quarter behind terrific shooting accuracy from behind the arc, but Zalgiris never waved the white flag and managed to tie 77-77, with 6 minutes to go. A key three-pointer by Sergio Rodriguez, followed by 8 points of its last 12 points by Malcolm Delaney, allowed Milan to improves to a 4-3 record. Zalgiris, meanwhile, collected its fourth loss straight and drops to 5-5. Kevin Punter led the winners with 22 points and a career-high performance index rating of 29. Zach LeDay followed with 20 points and 6 boards against his former team, while Shavon Shields, Malcolm Delaney and Kyle Hines scored 17, 13 and 10 respectively. Lukas Lekavicius tallied 16 points for Zalgiris. Rokas Jokubaitis had 15 on the day after his 20th birthday, while Augustine Rubit chipped in 13 and Marius Grigonis 10 in defeat.

LeDay's 6 points in a row followed by a contested trey by Punter gave the hosts an early 9-3 lead. Zalgiris reacted quickly after a timeout thanks to Joffrey Lauvergne and Steve Vasturia, who combined for 9 points and a 12-12 tie. Milan turned to Shields on offense, but Zalgiris took off on a 2-11 run behind triples from Grigonis and Jokubaitis to lead 21-25 after one quarter. Punter scored 5 points and fed Vladimir Micov for a corner trey to return a 31-27 edge to the home side. Milan kept rocking as Hines and LeDay scored inside to finish an 11-0 run to a 35-27 advantage. Shields, LeDay and Delaney soon drilled triples to extend the margin 46-33. Even though Zalgiris forced a couple of turnovers to score easy layups, back-to-back treys by Shields and Rodriguez kept the hosts in charge 52-40 at halftime. Punter came out of the break with 8 points in a row to which Shields added acrobatic reverse layup to put Zalgiris against the ropes, 62-42. The visitors didn't panic, though, turning an unsportsmanlike foul into 5 points in a 0-7 run that reduced the margin to 62-49. Milan restored a double-digit margin, 69-56, but Zalgiris raised its defensive level and Rubit took over inside to allow Zalgiris to enter the last quarter trailing 73-64. The hosts looked paralyzed as Lekavicius and Rubit filled a 4-13 run that tied the score at 77-77 for a brand-new game with 6 minutes to play. Vladimir Micov came to the rescue with a tip-in but when Thomas Walkup hit a three, Zalgiris was within 83-82. Rodriguez and Delaney showed up big from behind the arc to make it 89-82 for Milan, but it still wasn't Zalgiris last word. Jokubaitis and Nigel Hayes kept the game on the wire, 91-87, until Delaney took over with a contested layup and a difficult pull-up jumper to build a 93-87 gap that the visitors were not able to contest.

Threes saved the day

Milan shot extremely well from deep, collecting 13 triples on 25 attempts. Their long-distance accuracy included hitting 7 of 8 threes in the second quarter to reach halftime leading 52-40. Then, in the last quarter, when Zalgiris dissolved a 20-point disadvantage, back-to-back triples by Sergio Rodriguez and Malcolm Delaney in crunch time helped Milan hold off Zalgiris.

Don't let them run

Milan trailed 21-25 at the end of the first period, mainly because they were unable to stop Zalgiris from getting 10 fastbreak points already. The hosts managed to adjust their defense and allowed just 15 points in the second quarter to outscore the visiting team 31-16.

Good to be back

Kevin Punter made his Euroleague debut with Milan this week after missing one month and a half because of injury and became a key factor. He was the game's top scorer with 22 points and showed up in key moments: first, to bring Milan back early in the second quarter, and later, to boost his team's lead to 20 points, 62-42, by scoring 8 points in a row right after halftime.

Not the perfect celebration for Jokubaitis

Rokas Jokubaitis turned 20 the day before the game, and he celebrated it with his best EuroLeague scoring performance to date: 15 points on 3 of 6 two-pointers, 2 of 3 threes and 3 of 3 free throws. He was one of the key players who helped the visitors to rally from a 20-point deficit in the second half, but couldn't fully celebrate as his team came up short in the end.

Next round

In Round 11 next week AX Armani Exchange Milan will travel to Israel to challenge Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv on Thursday, November 26, while Zalgiris Kaunas will return to its place to host Zalgiris hosts Zenit St Petersburg the same day.

Zach Leday - AX Armani Exchange Milan - EB20
Friday, November 20, 2020
Euroleague.net
Referees: PEREZ, EMILIO; PETEK, SASO; SILVA, SERGIO
Attendance: 0 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
AX Armani Exchange Milan21312125
Zalgiris Kaunas25152428
End of Quarter1234
AX Armani Exchange Milan21527398
Zalgiris Kaunas25406492
AX Armani Exchange Milan
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 PUNTER, KEVIN 29:52 22 4/5 3/4 5/5   1 1 3 3       3 5 29
2 LEDAY, ZACH 25:43 20 5/8 2/3 4/4 2 4 6 1       1 3 4 23
5 MICOV, VLADIMIR 20:08 5 1/2 1/1   1 2 3 1 1 2     2   5
10 ROLL, MICHAEL 8:48     0/2     1 1     1     1 1 -2
13 RODRIGUEZ, SERGIO 17:49 9   2/5 3/3   3 3 5 2 2     2 2 14
15 TARCZEWSKI, KALEB 5:23   0/1               1     2   -4
19 BILIGHA, PAUL DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
20 CINCIARINI, ANDREA DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
23 DELANEY, MALCOLM 25:14 13 3/6 2/5 1/2   2 2 4       1 2 3 12
31 SHIELDS, SHAVON 29:00 17 2/5 3/4 4/4   4 4   1 2 1   2 6 21
32 BROOKS, JEFF 12:05 2 1/2 0/1     1 1 1 1 1   1 1    
42 HINES, KYLE 25:58 10 4/8   2/2 4 2 6 2 1 1     3 1 12
Team           1 2 3               3
Totals 200:00 98 20/37 13/25 19/20 8 22 30 17 9 10 1 3 21 22 113
        54.1% 52% 95%
Head coach: MESSINA, ETTORE
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Zalgiris Kaunas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 WALKUP, THOMAS 19:58 8 1/3 2/3   1 2 3 8   3     4 1 10
4 LEKAVICIUS, LUKAS 25:22 16 6/7 1/2 1/1 1 2 3 2 1 1     3 4 20
10 HAYES, NIGEL 31:06 9 3/5 1/4     6 6   1 1     1   9
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS 8:54 2 1/3 0/1   1 1 2           2   -1
16 LUKOSIUNAS, KAROLIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 MILAKNIS, ARTURAS 15:03     0/2     2 2   1         1 2
23 GEBEN, MARTINAS 3:51 2 1/2                 1       2
24 RUBIT, AUGUSTINE 20:01 13 4/6   5/6 2 5 7 2   1 1   1 4 22
31 JOKUBAITIS, ROKAS 24:48 15 3/6 2/3 3/3   1 1   1 2     3 2 10
32 VASTURIA, STEVE 12:07 8 2/2 1/2 1/1             1   2 1 7
40 GRIGONIS, MARIUS 21:13 10 0/1 2/3 4/4   2 2     2     5 6 9
77 LAUVERGNE, JOFFREY 17:37 9 4/7   1/2 1 2 3 5   1   1 1 2 12
Team                                
Totals 200:00 92 25/42 9/20 15/17 6 23 29 17 4 11 3 1 22 21 102
        59.5% 45% 88.2%
Head coach: SCHILLER, MARTIN

Head Coaches

MESSINA, ETTORE
AX Armani Exchange Milan
"Of course, it was not nice when, with the 20-point lead, we gave them 6 free throws on unsportsmanlike fouls in transition. We missed a couple of good shots, we missed a couple of defensive possessions, so we let them come back and at that point we got nervous, because we came after a loss and after a loss you never relax. I think we finished very well in the last 4 or 5 minutes, and Kyle Hines was a huge key in our defense because he helped us defend the pick-and-roll. Winning is always important. It's more important to get back players like [Kevin] Punter and Malcolm [Delaney]. They both showed how important they are for this team. It's an important win, no matter how we got it because players are coming back, finding their roles again, and I think we will be on the right track soon."
SCHILLER, MARTIN
Zalgiris Kaunas
"First of all, congratulations to Milan and to Coach Messina. I think we dug ourselves a hole in the second quarter; it's very obvious. We actually wanted to be back in the fourth, but if you dig such a hole as 16 points or so, as we did in the second quarter, on this level it's very difficult to come back. I think we didn't feel like a team in the last couple of games. We played with a sense of urgency."

Players

LEDAY, ZACH
AX Armani Exchange Milan
"It was good to get the win, in general. We've been missing a lot of games, like cancellations and postponements, so it's good to be back on track. We have to keep staying together, keep using the ball, sharing the ball and keep playing hard. It's good to have the full team back so figuring out how to use the ball is good."
PUNTER, KEVIN
AX Armani Exchange Milan
"It feels good [to get back in winning]. We dropped two straight, and we had to build things up as a team, to keep back on track is what we have to keep doing. I'm starting to get back in rhythm after a month and a half. I'm just trying to get my legs back, keep working, keep taking wins, and taking it day by day."
LEKAVICIUS, LUKAS
Zalgiris Kaunas
"Despite our fighting spirit, a loss is a loss. Our bad defense consisted of many small mistakes. Our offense got better in the second half. We started to play faster, to make quicker decisions and it allowed us to come back to the game. Our energy was much better after halftime, but it wasn't enough in the end."