Milan sinks Maccabi in OT thriller
Malcolm Delaney hit a mid-range jumper with 3.6 seconds left in overtime to lift AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan to a thrilling 85-86 road win over Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv on Thursday night. The win improved Milan to 5-3 on the season, while Maccabi dropped to 3-8. Milan took control with a 1-21 run to end the second and start the third quarter, and held a 35-48 lead. But Maccabi rallied and went in front in the final minutes behind Scottie Wilbekin. However, Kevin Punter's four-point play sent the game into overtime where the teams traded blows before Delaney hit the game-winner. Punter paced Milan with 18 points and Delaney scored 16. Shavon Shields collected 14 points plus 11 rebounds, Kyle Hines had 12 points and 8 rebounds, and Sergio Rodriguez had 10 points, 5 assists and 3 steals. Wilbekin had 17 points and 6 assists and Elijah Bryant scored 17 with 9 rebounds for Maccabi. Othello Hunter collected 14 points plus 7 rebounds in a losing effort.
Wilbekin and Delaney traded triples to start the game before a three from Bryant and a tip-in from Tyler Dorsey helped the hosts open a 12-5 lead. Bryant's second-chance triple made it 15-7, but Kyle Hines scored 6 close range points in a 0-8 run to tie the game. A three from Chris Jones helped make it 20-18 after 10 minutes and 5 points from Bender early in the second made it 25-20. The teams continued trading baskets with Punter and John DiBartolomeo exchanging triples, but Oz Blayzer knocked down a triple and Hunter had a big dunk to push the lead to 34-27. However, Punter scored twice before Shields hit a pair of triples to extend the margin to 35-40. Maccabi coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos called a timeout, but the visitors scored 7 more points before halftime including a layup and a last-second triple from Malcolm Delaney to make it 35-46 at halftime.
The margin went to 13 right after the break, but Maccabi came out strong in the third quarter with Ante Zizic working inside, Bryant hitting a triple and Wilbekin a pair of short jumpers in an 11-1 run to get within 46-49. Hines scored inside and Rodriguez from the outside to end Milan's drought and a triple from Shields helped make it 50-59. Bryant hit a triple to end the third and make it a 6-point game going into the fourth quarter, but Hunter had a three-point play and Jones nailed a corner triple to tie it at 61-61. There were no baskets by either side for almost 3 minutes before Delaney knocked down a triple for the visitors, 61-64. Blayzer scored inside for Maccabi, but after another long drought, Shields made a put-back to put the visitors up 63-66 with 1:55 to go. Maccabi scored 7 consecutive points, with Wilbekin netting a deep three and a running floater, before setting up Hunter for an alley-oop dunk and a 70-66 lead. However, Punter answered with a three-pointer plus foul with 18.9 seconds left in regulation and after Wilbekin missed on Maccabi's final possessions, the game went to overtime.
In the extra session, the teams continued trading blows. Bryant had a three-point play, but Jeff Brooks hit a corner triple. DiBartolomeo answered with a three of his own, but Delaney's triple made it 79-81. Still, there was plenty of drama left. Hunter fought inside twice and his tip-in made it 83-81. Rodriguez replied with a three-pointer before Wilbekin made 2 free throws with 14.1 left on the clock. But Delaney took the ball, drove to the right and nailed a tough mid-range jumper over Wilbekin, lifting Milan to a dramatic win.
Long time coming
This was Milan's first road win over Maccabi in almost 33 years. The last time Milan won in Tel Aviv was in December 1987, when it registered a 93-99 in the group stage of the Champions Cup. That was also the last season Milan won the EuroLeague title.
Defenses ruled in the second half, with Maccabi and Milan combining to score 31 points in the third quarter and 28 points in the fourth. However, in just 5 minutes of their extra session, two teams combined for 31 points.
Maccabi led 34-27 with 4:30 left in the second quarter, but Milan ended the half with a 1-19 run which featured 2 three-pointers from Shavon Shields and a three from Delaney in the last second to open an 11-point halftime lead.
Team captain returns to action
This was the first game back for Maccabi's John DiBartolomeo who got hurt in Round 12 of last season. He played just below 12 minutes and scored 5 of his 8 points in overtime.
Next week in Round 12, Maccabi will be at home again to host Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade, while Milan will welcome Panathinaikos OPAP Athens.
Thursday, November 26, 2020