A late fourth quarter surge from EA7 Milano earned them a 92-87 victory over Galatasaray in the fashion capital thus finally ending their ten-game losing streak, stretching back to November.
After blowing a 16-point lead, Milan were pegged back and they trailed 76-73 with five minutes left after a 9-0 run by Galatasaray. But Krunoslav Simon and Ricky Hickman combined for 11 of Milano’s 19 points the rest of the way.
“After ten losses in a row, of course it was an important win,” Simon, who led Milano with 19 points said. “It was hard to play tonight, but the most important thing we did. We won the game, and that is what we were thinking about before the game.
“Galatasaray has a lot of good players. We started to play a little soft when we were up by 12 points, and they scored some shots, but in the end, what was most important is we won. I can’t say I hit clutch shots. It was a tie game, and OK, I scored at the end, but it’s a team win and I hope that after this win we will start to play much better than we were in the last two months.”
Galatasaray got 17 points each from Sinan Guler and Bruno Fitipaldo. Both sides though remain in the bottom two of the EuroLeague standings.
Barcelona secured a vital head-to-head over Anadolu Efes as the Catalan side avenged their four-point loss earlier in the season with an 89-78 win at the Palau Blaugrana.
Petteri Koponen led the winners with 20 points, Vitor Faverani added 18 in his first game with Barcelona and Victor Claver had 15 for the hosts. Brandon Paul led Efes with 25 points.
“Last week was tough for us We lost at home against Olympiacos in the final seconds and also lost in the Spanish League against Tenerife,” Koponen said. “It was our time to bounce back and today, everybody was focused and we played well.”
Both teams own 8-10 records but Barcelona have the advantage come the end of the season.
Crvena Zvezda scored the game’s final nine points to sneak a narrow 71-67 road win over Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv.
The Serbian champs extended their winning streak to five straight games to improve to 10-8 and a share of sixth place, while Maccabi, who played without Quincy Miller and Maik Zirbes lost for the eighth time in nine games to fall to 6-12.
Stefan Jovic shined with five points and a pair of assists in Red Star’s game-deciding run as he finished with 14 points and seven assists to pace the winners.
“We played a little bit better in defence,” said Red Star coach Dejan Radonjic. “But they made some very, very tough shots, especially [Andrew] Goudelock and in the last minutes we needed to play much better in defence and much better in offence and we played like that, excellent defensively and vert smart offensively. Big success for us. We played very good, but we can play better.”
EuroLeague champions and league leaders CSKA Moscow turned in a fine performance in the Russian capital as they dismissed Brose Bamberg 85-64.
Playing without Milos Teodosic, CSKA relied on last season’s double EuroLeague MVP Nando De Colo to steer the ship as he poured in 26 points and five assists in the win.
“I think this is fourth consecutive game that the team is on track,” said CSKA coach Dimitris Itoudis. I like that competitiveness. Defensively today we were very good. We managed to keep one of the best scoring teams beyond the arc and with creating inside and outside to 64 points.
“Of course, there were also some situations in which we were lucky. They had some open looks and they didn’t punish us, while we shot 92% on twos in first half. We kept that that rhthym and shared the ball, 26 assists, and had 5 to 1 blocks, which shows a lot.”
In Zeljko Obradovic’s 100th game in charge of Fenerbahce, he masterminded a comfortable 84-63 win over Panathinaikos, a side for whom he led for thirteen years.
Luigi Datome led the winners with 16 points as both sides moved to 11-7 in the standings.
“It is a very important victory for us against an excellent team,” Obradovic said. “I believe they were a little bit tired because last Monday, they played a big derby against Olympiacos. The key was to be aggressive on defence and move the ball on offence. I believe that we played a very, very good game.”
Mike James had a game-high 25 for Panathinaikos.