By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Milano beat CSKA 67 – 57 to improve to 13 – 6 in EuroLeague and climb to the third spot in the standings. It was a majestic defensive performance by Ettore Messina’s players, especially in the second half when the hosts scored just 22 points.
Troy Daniels and Devon Hall had 13 points apiece for Milano while Kyle Hines scored 12 points and threw down three blocks in an overall brilliant defensive contribution. The Italian side found additional solutions from its bench players, like newcomer Trey Kell who delivered nine points in 17 minutes.
“Our team stepped up, there were a lot of players that stepped up on the absence of missing Gigi Datome and Jerian Grant,” Hines said. “Troy Daniels and Trey (Kell) stepped up and other guys stepped up. That was the key. It is always next man up for us. I think our defense was the key. We were able to try to get them out of the things they liked to do, because CSKA is a tremendous offensive team, so we were able to keep them away from that a little bit.”
Milano went off to a strong 23 – 10 beginning and led from start to finish. CSKA responded to cut that margin to 35 – 40 at halftime but their opponents held on. They fully gained control in the second half thanks to a 10-0 run that put them up 62 – 46 lead in the mid of the fourth period.
CSKA’s offense was struggling with the absences of injured Will Clyburn and Daniel Hackett reducing Dimitris Itoudis’ options. Iffe Lundberg finished with 15 points and Tornike Shengelia had 13 points plus seven rebounds for a CSKA squad that overall shot 3-24 from the perimeter. While the Army Men dominated the boards 39 – 30 and grabbed a superb number of 17 rebounds (vs. Milano’s five), they didn’t manage to translate these extra opportunities into buckets.
“Congratulations to Milan for the win,” Itoudis said. “Actually, regarding us, again, if we make the mathematics a little bit, we had a very bad start defensively and offensively. Milan was consistent defensively and they were also making plays. They had key players from the bench, Trey Kell and Daniels, but definitely, they had their superiority of the hands of Kyle (Hines) and ‘Chacho’ (Sergio Rodriguez).”
The second unit impact
Milano coach Ettore Messina talked about the contribution of his bench guys who made a difference in such a low-scoring affair.
“I think we a very, very good defensive performance,” Messina said. “I think we managed to keep them under 60 points, which is a great accomplishment. Both teams were missing key players and we managed to have more depth from our bench. The players from the bench really helped us to perform. We found some balance and fixed 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 if we didn’t shoot well, we took a great win, a very important win. We won two games (this week), I am very happy.”