Milano got regular season sweep over Barcelona in front of Keith Langford

2024-01-26T22:35:53+00:00 2024-01-26T23:08:40+00:00.

Cesare Milanti

26/Jan/24 22:35

The veteran shooting guard enjoyed his Hall of Fame induction by witnessing Ettore Messina’s win over the Catalan side

By Cesare Milanti /

MILANO, Italy – After winning 90-86 in Palau Blaugrana in Round 14, Milano celebrated the regular season sweep over Barcelona by getting another victory, this time at home. Controlling the game early in the first half, Ettore Messina’s team went out of Forum with a 74-70 win in the bag.

Winning an ACB against the Catalan team back in 2020, Shavon Shields knows how to punish Barcelona. He did it once again tonight with 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Celebrating his 33rd birthday, Nicolò Melli had 5 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 fouls drawn.

“We played an excellent first half, we shared the ball and defended with a good pace. Coming out of the locker room, we were extremely poor. That took us to a situation of fear of losing again, we weren’t patient and we weren’t able to go inside. But we kept Barcelona to 70 points, with some plays coming after the rebound we managed to keep the lead”, Ettore Messina said after the win.

Jan Vesely was on fire tonight for Roger Grimau’s team, ending with 28 points on 10/14 from two-point range and 8/11 at the charity stripe. Jabari Parker and Willy Hernangomez combined for 21 points in the defeat, while Nikola Kalinic went close to a double-double with 9 points and 10 rebounds.

“It was really hard to come back in the second half. We did a good job, but we couldn’t do it. We didn’t lose because of the referees, but I’m concerned because I can’t understand why Jan Vesely got a warning when he first said something. Playing away is tough in the EuroLeague, you have to be there for forty minutes”, Roger Grimau commented after his team’s second straight EuroLeague defeat.

Hall of Fame induction for the legendary Keith Langford

Grabbing the rebound off a layup mistake from Jan Vesely and running in transition to a bodycheck converted into two free throws at 4:57 on the clock, Milano’s captain Nicolò Melli seemed pretty inspired to start his birthday game. Shavon Shields put Ettore Messina’s up 17-12 with a sole three-pointer at 2:32 left in the first quarter, while Devon Hall created an 11-point separation (23-12) to close it.

Milano’s number 22 didn’t slow down and converted back-to-back two-pointers, while Nicolò Melli blocked Willy Hernangomez straight after to keep the hosts up 32-20 at 6:03 on the clock. Giampaolo Ricci had a similar play on Nikola Kalinic with 2:23 minutes left before halftime. Displaying Barcelona’s frustration, Tomas Satoransky was awarded an unsportsmanlike foul at 1:42 on Shabazz Napier, who followed by pushing Milano to an easy 18-point lead (43-25).

At halftime, Keith Langford was introduced into the Italian team’s Hall of Fame. The 40-year-old American scoring guard, who announced his retirement at the end of the 2022-23 season, played for two exciting seasons in Milano from 2012 to 2014, going close to the EuroLeague Final Four. He won the Italian league in 2014 after a thrilling seven-game series against Mens Sana Siena.

The second half opened with Jan Vesely throwing down an alley-oop dunk assisted by Rokas Jokubaitis, and following Jabari Parker’s three-pointer that reduced the deficit to 13 points (49-36), Ettore Messina called timeout. At 5:54 on the clock in the third, Barcelona reduced the deficit to a single deficit (51-42). With back-to-back three-pointers from Rodney McGruder and Shavon Shields, Milano answered.

Entering the fourth quarter up 57-49, Milano struggled to extend the lead while Barcelona kept on losing opportunities to tie the game, missing several open three-pointers. Nicolas Laprovittola was ejected with five fouls at 6:42 minutes left in the game, while Dario Brizuela had to leave the arena later on after committing two straight technical fouls. The guests reduced the deficit to five points (69-64) with 2:14 minutes to go, but it ultimately wasn’t enough even after Nikola Kalinic’s clutch three at the end.

Next week’s double-game action will see Ettore Messina’s team traveling on the road against Panathinaikos (31/01 at 20:15 CET) and Anadolu Efes (02/02 at 18:30 CET), while Barcelona will first host Virtus Bologna (31/01 at 20:30 CET) and then travel against Crvena Zvezda (02/02 at 20:00 CET).

PHOTO CREDIT: EA7 Emporio Armani Milano

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