Zach LeDay hits game-winner at the buzzer, Milano steals Game 1

2021-04-20T22:56:05+00:00 2021-04-20T23:39:05+00:00.

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20/Apr/21 22:56

Eurohoops.net

It seemed as though Bayern Munich will make a convincing upset but the experienced Olimpia Milano squad bounced back and stole the win with Zach LeDay making the game-winning shot in the last second

By Stefan Djordjevic / sdjordjevic@eurohoops.net

In a duel between the fourth and fifth seed, Olimpia Milano made a big comeback and snatched a 79-78 home win in a thrilling Game 1 to start off their first Turkish Airlines EuroLeague playoff series since 2014.

The visiting team had the win within their grasp after James Gist made both of his free throws with one second remaining on the clock, however, Milano had the final say.

And Zach LeDay was the one who said it with a buzzer-beating layup off an alley-oop from the sideline thrown by Malcolm Delaney.

LeDay finished with 17 points while Sergio Rodriguez had 13 and Kevin Punter 11 points. Delaney scored ten points while LeDay also grabbed seven rebounds.

Bayern’s lead stretched to as much as 19 points before the halftime break (44-25) but Milano managed to bounce back paced by the experienced and fiery Rodriguez who seemed to hit a three-pointer every time his team needed it.

DJ Seeley was the X-factor for the German side with 23 points on 5-5 from deep including two threes to spark a big 14-2 push in the second quarter (32-18). JaJuan Johnson and Wade Baldwin helped with ten points each.

It should also be noted that Nick Weiler-Babb got injured near the end of the first quarter and it remains to be seen how his status will develop throughout the series and whether he will be able to return.

Fortune favors the brave

Coach Ettore Messina knows there are many things to improve upon when it comes to his squad’s performance in Game 1 but the Italian expert has been proud of his players for the character they showed.

“The players did it. We were on a night where nothing was going our way. We missed shots and were on our heels for a great part of the game. We had heart, made some good plays, and down the stretch, our defense was much better. I think Malcolm threw a great pass on the last play and Zach scored. Of course, you need a bit of luck and we had it. These days there is a word that everybody uses…resilient. Well, we’ve be resilient. And lucky,” Messina noted.

The hero of the night had only two things on his mind as the final play was developing – “catch it and make it”.

“Man, it’s crazy! Coach drew up the play and I just ran in, I just wanted to catch it and to finish it. Crazy game. We’ve got to bounce back and keep getting better in the series. We wanted to come out [after halftime] and play hard, we knew we didn’t play good in the first half so we wanted to bring energy and that ended up bringing us back into the game. Now we’ve got to capitalize,” Leday said.