EA7 Milan doubled its Italian Serie A Finals lead to 2-0 after a comfortable 79-65 victory over defending champs Montepaschi Siena in Game 2. The regular season champions have looked best placed to usurp Montepaschi at the summit of Italian Basketball all season, pitching in a solid Euroleague run as well.
Montepaschi has dominated the Serie A for the last seven seasons, but the club will have to recover from two road defeats when the series heads to Siena. As for Milan, they have the chance to claim the title away from home, but the club will know Montepaschi will pose different threats in familiar surroundings.
EA7 Milan vs. Montepaschi Siena, 79-65
Marquez Haynes started the scoring with 50% from the charity strip to give Siena the first lead of the game (0-1), and the score stayed that way for the next minute. Milan finally registered when the team capitalized on a defensive rebound and took a foul at the other end. Alessandro Gentile cut his free throws in half to tie the game at 1-1. The team traded free throws to 2-2 before the visitors sent five points into the net without reply to lead 2-8. Montepaschi maintained the six point advantage through the middle of the stanza (6-12), but Milan finally found a rhythm and looked good on the defensive board to pour in eight points without reply to the lead for the first time at 13-12. The away team snapped the run to tie once more and the teams exchanged nets to put the scoreboard at 16 apiece. With the first period drawing to a close Kristjan Kangur nailed a triple for the hosts to give them a 19-16 lead.
Daniel Hackett scored under the basket to extend Milan’s lead at the start of the second quarter, while Samardo Samuels also found home from the post to respond to Matt Janning’s two pointer for Siena (23-18). EA7 held onto the five point advantage as the score moved up to 26-21, but the visitors cut it to three points through Othello Hunter. Throughout the middle of the second frame the teams once again matched scores as Milan managed to keep their opponents at arm’s length. Montepaschi got to three points again (37-34) thanks to more scoring from the line, this time courtesy of Benjamin Ortner. However, the home team once again found another gear as David Moss went 100% for free throws and streamed in from downtown (42-34). Siena notched another point but by halftime EA7 had control with the score sitting at 42-35.
The second half opened slowly, with Keith Langford’s free throw the only score in the opening minute of Q3 (43-35). Haynes hit from middle distance to open Siena’s account in the second half, and he struck once again from the free throw line to cut the score to four points at 43-39. Milan were proving too strong under the offensive basket as Samuels scored four consecutive points to restore the comfortable lead (47-39). With the 25th minute mark arriving the hosts had extended the lead to 52-41 and Langford further pushed the team to 54-41 from the charity line. It was becoming damage limitation for Montepaschi as the reigning champs struggled to pass a strong Milan defensive effort characterized by plenty of defensive rebounds. EA7 found a grove in the third frame to outpace Siena to a 63-50 lead after half hour of play.
Montepaschi needed a huge fourth quarter effort, but the situation was made worse when neither team scored for the first two and a half minutes of the fourth stanza. Langford managed to keep their guests at arm’s length with Samuels driving the team defensively with his ninth take off the glass at the defensive end. With time running out the hosts cruised down the stretch to take command of the series.
Samuels was outstanding in Milan’s win, claiming 22 points and 15 rebounds in a game winning double-double display. Gentile followed Samuels with 16 points and 6 rebounds, while Langford took 10 points.
No Siena players took charge as Haynes top scored for the team with 12 points.