Milan spoils EuroLeague return of Buducnost
AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan spoiled Buducnost Voli Podgorica's return to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague with a 71-82 road victory in the Montenegrin capital. Vladimir Micov led five Milan scorers in double figures with 15 points. Nemanja Nedovic had 14 plus 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Mike James picked up 13 points and 5 assists, Mindaugas Kuzminskas scored 12 points and Arturas Gudaitis 11 for the winners. Buducnost, playing its first EuroLeague game in 15 years, got 22 points from Earl Clark with Edwin Jackson adding 12 and Nikola Ivanovic 11. After Milan's Kaleb Tarczewski opened the scoring, Alen Omic's free throws more than 2 minutes into the game were Buducnost's first EuroLeague points since 2003. The hosts were ice cold from the field early while Jeff Brooks and James combined for 12 points as Milan's 2-18 run over 6 minutes 29 seconds made it 7-22. Buducnost began to get some momentum with Jackson and Ivanovic hitting from long range in getting the gap to 7 points, 23-30, in the second quarter. Another Jackson triple cut it to 4, but Kuzminskas scored 6 straight points and Milan was up 31-42 at the break. Micov's three-pointer to start the second half pushed the advantage to 14 points. Buducnost was able to score regularly through Clark and Alen Omic and got to within 41-47 before Micov's 2 three-pointers kept Milan in front 51-57 after three quarters. Nearly 3 minutes passed before Buducnost scored again as the gap grew to 51-65. The hosts once again came back with the long ball as Clark's three-pointer made it 71-74 with 3 minutes left. But Micov answered yet again with a tough layup and Buducnost could not score the rest of the game.
History must wait
The EuroLeague was back in the Montenegrin capital for the first time in 5,728 days as Buducnost's last home game at Moraca came against Maccabi Tel Aviv on February 6, 2003 – or 15 years, eight months and six days. But Milan spoiled the celebrations.
Milan once again let Buducnost back into the game in the fourth quarter and the deficit was down to 3 points 71-74 with 3 minutes left. Micov got a tough layup to fall for Milan and that was the game as Buducnost did not score the rest of the way.
Movers and shakers
Nedovic was solid all-around with 14 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists and James had 13 points and 5 assists. But it was Micov who time and again came up with big shots for Milan after Buducnost had gotten close.
Buducnost fans will look at 20 offensive rebounds for their team but more decisive was the field goal percentage as the hosts hit just 36 percent of their shots from the field.
Buducnost head out on the road next looking for its first victory back in the EuroLeague, playing at Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul. Milan for its part will get its EuroLeague home opener against the reigning champion Real Madrid.
Friday, October 12, 2018