By the Eurohoops team/ [email protected]
Olimpia Milano forced CSKA Moscow to their lowest-rated EuroLeague match since 2013 (the semi-final loss to Olympiacos) to secure another road win against a contender after the one against Barcelona.
Milan beat CSKA 67-57 to improve to 13-6 in the EuroLeague and climb to third place in the standings. It was a majestic defensive performance from Ettore Messina’s players, especially in the second half when the hosts scored just 22 points.
Troy Daniels and Devon Hall had 13 points each for Milan while Kyle Hines scored 12 points and threw three blocks in a brilliant all-around defensive contribution. The Italian side found additional solutions from their bench players, such as newcomer Trey Kell who delivered nine points in 17 minutes.
“Our team stepped up, there were a lot of players who stepped up in the absence of Gigi Datome and Jerian Grant,” Hines said. “Troy Daniels and Trey (Kell) stepped up and other guys stepped up. That was key. He’s always the next man for us. I think our defense was key. We were able to try and get them out things they liked to do, because CSKA are a great attacking team, so we were able to take them away from that a bit.
Milano got off to a solid 23-10 start and led from start to finish. CSKA responded to reduce that margin to 35-40 at halftime, but their opponents held on. They took full control in the second half with a 10-0 run that gave them a 62-46 lead midway through the fourth period.
CSKA’s offense was struggling with the absences of injured Will Clyburn and Daniel Hackett, reducing options for Dimitris Itoudis. Ifffe Lundberg finished with 15 points and Tornike Shengelia had 13 points plus seven rebounds for a CSKA team that overall shot 3-24 from the perimeter. While the Army men topped the boards 39-30 and grabbed a stunning 17 rebounds (to Milano’s five), they failed to translate those extra opportunities into buckets.
“Congratulations to Milan for the win,” Itoudis said. “In fact, about us, again, if we do a little math, we got off to a very bad start defensively and offensively. Milan were consistent defensively and they were also making plays. They had key players from the bench, Trey Kell and Daniels, but certainly they had their superiority in the hands of Kyle (Hines) and ‘Chacho’ (Sergio Rodriguez).
The second unit impact
Milan coach Ettore Messina has spoken about the contribution of his bench players who made the difference in such a weak affair.
“I think we have a very, very good defensive performance,” Messina said. “I think we managed to keep them under 60 points, which is a great achievement. Both teams lacked key players and we managed to get more depth from our bench. The bench players really helped us play. We found some balance and corrected the rebounds in the second half. Kyle Hines was amazing on the boards. Because of that, I think we had the extra possessions and even though we didn’t shoot well, we got a great win, a very important win. We won two games (this week), I’m very happy.