In this week’s round 7, Ax Armani Exchange won the third away game in a row, by topping Darussafaka 92-98 at the Volkswagen Arena.
Milano improved to 5-2 in the standings, while Darussafaka dropped to 1- 6. Mike James led the winners with 21 points, Vlado Micov, the so-called “Professor”, added 20 and Nemanja Nedovic had 17.
In the first quarter, a scorching Dairis Bertans led Milan on top with two swift shots beyond the arc, but Darussafaka stayed in the game, thanks to an industrious Savas from the two-point range. Olimpia Milan seemed to be in control by scoring 6 out of 8 from downtown, Mike James stole two important passes and found confidence from the perimeter. In the end of the first quarter, Olimpia Milan boosted its margin to 19-26, with a last-second triple by the recovered Nemanja Nedovic, whilst the Turkish team kept struggling to find good shots.
The second quarter was a bit different, with too many defensive mistakes from both teams. Nedovic took over the break and found three consecutive three-point shots, but for Darussafaka it was too easy to penetrate in the painted area with an acrobatic play by McCollum. Darussafaka found in Eric a pivotal performer and with the two-point range shot by Peiners and McCollum they bridged the gap to 47-50. Nonetheless, Milano kept working from downtown and another three-pointer by James brought back Milan to 49-54.
The second half started with two important offensive rebounds by Jeff Brooks, who dished an assist for Dairs Bertans, who didn’t miss it from 3. Milano scored paradoxically a 56% from beyond the arc and 26% from 2 point FG, whilst Darussafaka averaged 51% from 2pt FG and 42 from downtown. Milano started struggling in attack and conceded too many shots to Darussafaka: Dieber found the 3 jump shot for the -1. Coach Simone Pianigiani decided to put Nedovic into the fuss, but an easy layup from Browns in a fast break and 2points from Demir brought back the Turkish squad to 69-68.
The fourth quarter began with a triple by Jerrels, followed by another one by “the Professor” Vlado Micov. Olimpia Milan backup helped make it +9 with a good defensive rebound by Mindaugas Kuzminskas and an assist for Micov in a counter attack. Eric and Boygul from Darussafaka shortened the distance to three, 85-88. A lucky three-point shot from Bertans nearly touched the board killing the game and carrying back Milan to +4. Gudaitis was fouled by Dieber and the Lithuanian didn’t miss the free throws to outpass the Turkish to +5. Darussafaka was in the bonus and cut the deficit in the last minute with two free throws by Eric, which led to -1, but, eventually, Micov ended the game from the foul line (92-98).