By Eurohoops Team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Leading most of the way, including the entire second half, Zalgiris got the job done against EA7 Emporio Armani Milan on the road.
A win, 83-70, in Mediolanum Forum, snapped a three-game losing streak away from Kaunas in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season.
Team captain Edgaras Ulanovas set the pace with 11 points in the first quarter on the way to a team-high 20 points. He made 7/10 field goals, including 6/6 two-pointers. His impressive tally also featured six rebounds, five rebounds, and one steal. Missing three of his four shots from beyond the arc went unnoticed thanks to a team total of 11/21 triples in Italy.
“We knew they were very good defensively. Obviously, with the talent they have this year, they are more dangerous offensively. But we did a great job in defense,” mentioned Ulanovas, “Tonight, we were the better team. And we had great unity as a team.”
“When you start losing, you start losing your confidence,” added head coach Kazys Maksvytis referring to five unfavorable outcomes in the last six outings in the EuroLeague, “Congratulations to the guys for becoming stronger after each loss. They played with big motivation. Today, we showed the real face of our team.”
After sitting out ten days due to a shoulder injury, Tomas Dimsa lasted 11 minutes and put in five points in the fourth quarter to help the Lithuania champions hold on. However, Arnas Butkevicius appeared to roll his left ankle early in the second half and did not return. Besides newcomer Edmond Sumner missing the trip to Milan, Brady Manek (right knee) was placed on the injury list before the Round 11 affair.
Overcoming numerous issues, the team coached by Maksvytis went up to 5-6 in the 2023-24 edition of Europe’s premier club continental competition. Texas Tech product Keenan Evans contributed 19 points. Rolands Smits chipped in 16 more points.
“This is a big win for us,” reacted Evans, “I thought we had a great start to the game. Each quarter we would kind of stay with it. Milan made their runs but overall we stayed together as a team and kept our composure.”
For the hosts, Shavon Shields drew up a game-high 21 points. Kevin Pangos, Ismael Kamagate, and unregistered Guglielmo Caruso did not suit up, similar to injured teammate Billy Baron (right elbow). Diego Flaccadori did not play.
Ettore Messina’s side was forced down to 4-7 with a third loss over six games at home. “It was a bad performance on both ends of the floor. We were just outplayed on both sides,” confessed the play-caller of the defending champions in Italy.
Road trip for Olimpia Milan
Three games over five days away from home follow for the Italian club. After meeting Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari hoping to go up to 6-4 in Italy’s LBA UnipolSai on Sunday, a visit to FC Bayern Munich on Tuesday and Partizan Mozzart Bet on Thursday adds to the road trip. Finally, back home signals a domestic clash with Virtus Segafredo Bologna on December 10.
From Germany and ALBA Berlin on Tuesday, welcoming AS Monaco in Kaunas on Friday completes the grueling two-game week for Zalgiris. Meanwhile, an away game versus 7bet-Lietkabelis holds the opportunity to jump to 10-2 in Lithuania’s Betsafe LKL on Sunday.
Photo Credit: EuroleagueBasketball.net