EA7 Milano ended Olympiacos’ unbeaten run in the fashion capital with an 81-51 thrashing in Group E of the Euroleague Top 16.
The reigning Euroleague champions were a shadow of what they have played like in the previous 11 contests. The Reds led 21-16 after the first ten minutes but were lifeless from the second quarter as the Italians ran riot.
Milano on the other hand were outstanding. Missing Alessandro Gentile didn’t seem to phase them one bit as they held the Greeks to just 30 points in 30 minutes and more importantly keeping Euroleague MVP Vassilis Spanoulis at bay. Spanoulis could only manage 8 points and 4 turnovers.
While Milano new boy Daniel Hackett hit 17 points, it was Keith Langford who exploded for 29 points to lead the victors.
“We showed great progress tonight,” Langford said. “We’re happy, but we have to keep building our team; this is just is another step in the right direction. You have to be confident against team like Olympiacos to play a good game and I was, I had great energy, and my teammates helped me to have this great performance.”
Georgios Printezis led Olympiacos with 12 points.
The other Group E game saw Barcelona, without Juan Carlos Navarro gain revenge over Fenerbahce for their loss at the Ulker Sports Arena in the Regular Season with a 76-73 success on the Asian side of Istanbul tonight.
Brazilian international Marcelinho Huertas led Barca with 23 points, 14 of which came in a thrilling final quarter where he gave the Catalan side the lead with 10 seconds remaining. Bojan Bogdanovic had a shot to win it, but his three missed its target.
“We are very happy about this very important win,” said Barca coach Xavi Pascual. “It was a very close and tough game. There was just a small difference most of the game and both teams tried really hard. But we managed to play the end of the game better than our opponent.”
Fenerbahce are now 0-2 in the Top 16. They were both led by Melih Mahmutoglu and Nemanja Bjelica with 15 points.
In Group F, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv defeated Lokomotiv Kuban 85-75 at the Nokia Arena.
It’s the third time this Euroleague season that Maccabi have beaten last season’s Eurocup champions. They did it by blowing the game open in the fourth quarter with a 12-2 run that knocked Kuban out and they showed no signs of coming back.
Coach David Blatt’s surprise choice of putting Sofoklis Schortsanitis in the starting five paid off as he led the Israelis with 22 points.
Mantas Kalnietis led Lokomotiv with 18 points and 8 assists.
Bayern Munich’s promising start to the Top 16 continues as they edged Partzian 71-65 in Germany.
John Bryant led Bayern with 16 points and 12 rebounds as they turned the game on its head in the fourth quarter by holding the Serbian champions to just 9 points in the final ten minutes. Bayern were trailing 56-52, heading into the final quarter.
“The most important things were our fighting spirit and our confidence, knowing that we were playing in our gym,” Bayern Munich coach Svetislav Pesic said. “We are very happy that we won the second game in the Top 16, but we are also happy how we won.”
Bogdan Bogdanovic led Partizan with 24 as they fall to 0-2 in Group F.