Olimpia Milano doubles-up with a convincing win at Baskonia

By Johnny Askounis/ [email protected]

AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milano in full control took down Baskonia, 78-64, at Fernando Buesa Arena on Friday evening.

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Shavon Shields, 2020 ACB champion as a member of the team based in Vitoria-Gasteiz, posted a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double in a convincing display for his side in Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 2 contest. Malcolm Delaney had eight points in the fourth quarter for a total of 13 points. Devon Hall made four triples to produce 12 more points.

Nicolo Melli added ten points, five rebounds, and three assists generating a team-high 16 PIR. “I am happy because we won because the team played well. This is the most important thing,” he underlined, “Every time you come to Vitoria and play against Baskonia, it is very tough. The gym is a tough gym, plus with the fans back in the arena, it was a special game. But we came here and approached the game well besides maybe the first minute when the other team impacted more the game, but we handled the game very well.”

“They are a really tough team. They play well and were taking away what we like to do but I think everybody contributed tonight, which was good,” said Shields, “This is a tough place to play, a tough place to win, but we got the job done.”

“That was amazing,” he mentioned commenting on the Baskonia fans giving him an ovation after the game, “I am really grateful for the love that they showed me. I really loved my time here. We ended with a championship, so I think I brought something pretty nice to the city, I was a part of something, so I appreciate my time here and I look back on it, it was really fun.”

Kyle Hines with his eight points cut the deficit from Ante Tomic and tenth place in the all-time scoring list of EuroLeague to six points. He is more than likely to make the Top 10 in the upcoming two-game week featuring Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv at home on Tuesday and Anadolu Efes again at home on Friday.

Besides the balanced effort in offense, a solid display at the other end for the players led by experienced head coach Ettore Messina held the hosts to 4/26 from three-point range. The fourth win in a row in all competitions since September 25 improved the EuroLeague record to 2-0.

“I think my players had a very good defensive game. They defended like crazy for 40 minutes and rebounded pretty well. On offense, I think we shared the ball enough to win,” said Messina, “It was a good shooting night for us but we kept moving the ball and made some important shots down the stretch when it was very important.”

“You see there has been already a coaching change after two games. Two games, a coach has already been fired,” he added referring to Zalgiris Kaunas dismissing Martin Schiller, “This is not a good day for coaches, and of course, clubs are fully free to do whatever they think it is right to do, I am not questioning that. I am just saying that the EuroLeague is so challenging that every game is so important, every possession is so important, that to come out with a win tonight from my players means a lot and I am very, very grateful.”

Simone Fontecchio logged a game-high 16 points against his first EuroLeague team. Lithuanian Rokas Giedraitis finished with 14 points and four steals. Wade Baldwin IV in his EuroLeague season debut also scored 14 points but was limited to 5/18 from the field.

Fourth straight loss in all competitions the past couple of weeks for the team coached by Dusko Ivanovic, down to 0-2 in Europe’s premier continental club competition with a couple of poor shooting showings. Alec Peters and Sander Raieste were out against Milano.

“It was a tough game for us,” said the Montenegrin head coach effectively painting the picture for his side, “We had a problem on offense because Milan played really good defense, tough defense. We didn’t have it easy to move the ball, easy shots, but OK, we fought.”

The Italian side, still missing injured Troy Daniels, will be on the road against Openjobmetis Varese in LBA Serie A action on Sunday before the double-game week. Ivanovic’s team will host Monbus Obradoiro on Sunday, and will resume the EuroLeague campaign welcoming Panathinaikos OPAP on Tuesday and traveling to ALBA Belin on Thursday.

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