There’s been a drastic shakeup at the top of the Italian Serie A standings as the 2017-18 regular season sees its end on the horizon. Round 27 was concluded on April 23rd with Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia defeating FIAT Torino 89-82, but that was not the highlight nor the most crucial game of the round.
After two very important games on April 22nd, Umana Reyer Venezia has seized the pole position, knocking off EA7 Emporio Armani Milano. The Venetian club is no stranger to being King of Hill, having held this position earlier in the season. Both teams have identical 21-6 records but Venezia has the edge on tiebreakers. The battle between these two teams for that said top spot has been fierce, proving once again that the Serie A is one of Europe’s more competitive domestic leagues.
Banco dis Sardegna Sassari vs. Umana Venezia, 84-92
This game was dictated by Venezia’s offense and their ability to control the action on the glass. They ended the night with 21 assists and 34 rebounds, outmatching their hosts in both categories. This led to some key second-chance points that allowed Venezia to come away with the 8-point victory.
Venezia’s bench played a key role. They were productive at key junctures of the contest which helped the team weather the storm of Sassari’s Scott Bamforth, who exploded for a game-high 21 points. At the end of the day, unselfish play helped the new league leaders to prevail. Marquez Haynes and Austin Daye teamed up to lead the team with 18 points apiece as they spearheaded the offense.
Germani Basket Brescia vs. EA7 Emporio Armani Milano, 88-85
This was the biggest eye-opening upsets of the round. Brescia put an ended to Armani’s impressive nine-game winning streak. Marcus Landry flirted with a double-double for Brescia with a team-high 21 points and nine boards. But it would be the team’s defense that would prove to be the protagonist of this story. Brescia got six steals in this game, putting Armani’s plans off-kilter. Not even a game-high 22 points of Armani’s Andrew Goudelock would be enough as Brescia made sure that they locked things down in the fourth period to seal the victory when it mattered. That and some clutch threes as well to swing the momentum in their favor.
The 2017-18 regular season is not yet over in Italy and we could see the standings go through some more changes before playoff seedings are locked in. Fans of Italian hoops should be in for some great must-watch basketball down the stretch.