Williams leads Bayern to big win in Milan
In a thriller that went down to the wire, FC Bayern Munich survived a tough test by downing AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan 78-80 at Mediolanum Forum on Wednesday. Bayern improved to 7-6 and sixth place in the standings with its third consecutive win, while Milan suffered its fifth straight loss and fell to 6-7. Derrick Williams led the winners with 21 points, Petteri Koponen added 13 and Leon Radosevic and Stefan Jovic each had 10 for Bayern. Mike James paced Milan with 17 points, Vladimir Micov added 16, Arturas Gudaitis 13 and Nemanja Nedovic 11 for the hosts.
Nedovic got Milan going with a three-point play and Micov added a floater for a 5-0 lead. Maodo Lo scored down low and fed Radosevic for a jumper in a 0-6 run that Nihad Djedovic capped with a layup for a 5-6 Bayern lead. James hit a turnaround jumper and Gudaitis added free throws to restore a 10-6 Milan edge. A dunk by Nemanja Dangubic ignited a 0-9 run, which he capped with free throws to give Bayern a 10-15 lead. Curtis Jerrells struck twice from downtown as Milan went ahead 16-15 after 10 minutes. Williams stepped up for Bayern early in the second quarter, but Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Dairis Bertans kept the hosts ahead at 25-21. Jovic and Koponen fueled a 0-6 run that Williams capped with a jumper for a 25-27 score. Jovic and Williams stayed on fire, causing Milan to call timeout at 27-33. James and Micov hit free throws and Kuzminskas sank a triple to get Milan within 34-35. James joined the three-point shootout, but Radosevic and Lo gave Bayern a 40-41 lead at halftime. Gudaitis and Micov took over after the break and then James and Nedovic each struck from downtown to give Milan a 52-46 edge. Williams swished a three-pointer in an 0-8 run highlighted by Radosevic's put-back layup. James scored in penetration and a big basket by Radosevic helped Bayern regain the lead, 54-56. Jerrells buried a triple off the dribble and a turnaround jumper by Williams fixed the score at 57-58 after 30 minutes. Koponen nailed a three-pointer and a jumper early in the fourth quarter for a 59-63 Bayern lead with 8 minutes left. Robin Amaize took over with a coast-to-coast layup off a steal, but Gudaitis kept Milan close at 63-65. Back-to-back baskets by Micov soon provided another lead change, 67-65. Marvin Ogunsipe scored down low, James hit free throws, but a wild turnaround jumper by Williams and a wide-open triple by Koponen gave Bayern a 69-72 edge with less than 3 minutes left. James kept pacing Milan and Micov bettered Jovic's basket with a three-pointer for a 75-74 score in the next-to-last minute. Nedovic nailed a critical three-pointer, prompting Bayern to call timeout at 78-74 with 1:05 to go. Danilo Barthel scored right away and a three-point play by Williams gave Bayern a 78-79 edge. James missed from downtown and immediately fouled on Djedovic, who split attempts for a 78-81 score with 12.2 seconds left. James missed a driving floater, allowing Bayern to celebrate a big road win.
Not only did Williams play a decisive role with the go-ahead three-point play, but had another really strong game. Williams had 21 points on 6-of-7 two-point shooting, 6 rebounds and 9 fouls drawn for a game-high index rating of 30.
A three-pointer by Nedovic seemed to seal the outcome with over a minute left at 78-74, but Bayern kept Milan scoreless down the stretch. Meanwhile, Barthel scored a critical basket and Williams added a three-point play to put Bayern ahead. The guests got all the defensive stops they needed down the stretch - Milan missed 4 shots in the final 37 seconds.
The game went down to the wire, but two-point shots allowed Bayern to stay in the game. Bayern hit 26 of 49 (53.1%) shots inside the arc and only allowed Milan to score 14 of 34 (41.2%).
Did you notice?
This was Bayern's first-ever win on Italian soil. Bayern had lost all five games played in Italy in European competitions - against Benetton Treviso in the 2011-12 EuroCup, Montepaschi Siena in the 2013-14 EuroLeague, Milan in the 2014-15 EuroLeague, and against Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia and Fiat Turin in the 2017-18 EuroCup.
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action on Friday. Bayern hosts Real Madrid and Milan visits Panathinaikos OPAP Athens.
Wednesday, December 19, 2018