Olimpia Milano tears down Fenerbahce in Istanbul

2021-11-12T20:29:59+00:00 2021-11-12T21:40:01+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

12/Nov/21 20:29


The dominating first quarter boosts AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milano to yet another win

By Johnny Askounis/ info@eurohoops.net

Jumping to a comfortable lead very early, AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milano went up by a margin of 33 points before settling for the 68-43 victory at Fenerbahce Beko Friday evening.


Entering the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 9 game with two wins in three home games, the Turkish club suffered through nine minutes before Sehmus Hazer with a layup netted the first field goal. Ending up with three points through the first ten minutes was an early sign of a rough night. The 43 points marked a new team-low in the top European club competition.

Nicolo Melli in his first visit to Ulker Sports and Event Hall since departing Fener in 2018, logged all of his six points over the first six minutes. The Italian forward/center, coming off two seasons in the NBA, registered six steals and six rebounds in the one-side affair, billed as the Game of the Week.

“This is very important, as we know this was a tough environment,” he said after his side notched the sixth win in a row in all competitions since October 26, “Fenerbahce lost a couple of games by a couple of points, these things are not realistic for them, so we knew it was a tough game and we approached it very well. I think we imposed our rhythm from the beginning, that was the key.”

Fellow former Fenerbahce star crowned EuroLeague champion in 2017, Luigi Datome punched in 11 points. Shavon Shields got the game-high 13 points at Istanbul. Konstantinos Mitoglou and Devon Hall threw in nine more points each.

“Everybody did their job, we had a couple of things that we wanted to take away that they do, and we did a good job on that,” noted Shields, “They missed a couple of open shots early and that obviously helps a little bit, but I think we took them away from what they wanted to do.”

“It is a huge win because they just won in Moscow and competed until the last possession against Barcelona, and they were not lucky in other games,” stated the Italian mastermind Ettore Messina, a former assistant of Gregg Popovich at the San Antonio Spurs, “We know the potential of Fenerbahce, their fans, and their mentality, so I’m more than happy for this win.”

Still missing Malcolm Delaney (hamstring) and Riccardo Moraschini (suspension), the EuroLeague leaders improved to 8-1, also 7-0 in Italy’s LBA Serie A. The upcoming double-game week features a trip to Russia to meet UNICS Kazan Wednesday and Zenit Saint Petersburg Friday.

From the free-throw line, Jan Vesely put the first Fenerbahce point on the board with 4:46 left in the first period. The total of nine points to his name moved him into tenth place in the EuroLeague all-time scoring list past Kyle Hines. He made it to 2,820 points while his Round 9 opponent upped his own total to 2,818.

Pierria Henry finished with a team-high 12 points for the shared leaders of Turkey’s BSL. Dyshawn Pierre logged four rebounds and three assists returning to action after being sidelined for two weeks with a groin injury. Danilo Barthel (knee) remained out but is considered day-to-day.

“Our defense was solid in the end, we kept Milan under 70 points, but offensively we didn’t open the night as we wanted,” admitted Sasha Djordjevic, “The shots were not going in, the shot selection was not there, our heads were not there. We didn’t read their switches, their traps, we were ready for that, but we opened the game lousy, and they deserved the win.”

“So for the Fenerbahce family, this is all on me, not on the players. I think we could have played differently, but obviously, something was missing,” he added, “The fight, the intensity, it’s something that is one step ahead of us right now, and we have to think about it for the future. We have a game in two days and we need to pick the energy up. I take this on me.”

A three-game winning streak across all competitions abruptly ended sent his team down to 3-6. Coming up next week, a couple of away games versus FC Bayern Munich and Zalgiris Kaunas on Tuesday and Friday, respectively.