Khimki Moscow Region snapped its eight-game road losing streak by downing AX Armani Exchange Milan 69-78 on Thursday night at Mediolanum Forum.
Both teams now hold 11-14 records, but this win gave Khimki a regular-season sweep of Milan. Khimki took the lead for good with a 0-15 run early in the third quarter, and it never allowed the hosts to get closer than 4 points. Alexey Shved was the top scorer with 18 points plus 6 assists, while Jonas Jerebko collected 16 points and 12 rebounds. Devin Booker added 12 points plus 8 rebounds and Stefan Jovic scored 10 in victory. Sergio Rodriguez has 18 points and 8 rebounds for the hosts, Vladimir Micov added 15 points and Kaleb Tarczewski collected 12 points and 9 rebounds in Milan's third consecutive defeat.
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Khimki started hot from long range, with Jerebko nailing a pair and Jovic a wide-open corner triple to help open an 8-10 lead. Micov hit a jumper and a triple for the hosts, but Shved answered with a triple and sparked a 3-11 run that had Khimki up 16-21 at the end of the first quarter. Back-to-back threes from Dairis Bertans and Janis Timma extended it to 18-27 early in the second, but Milan kept taking it inside as Michael Roll and Micov each hit runners before a floater from Rodriguez cut the difference to 29-31. A step-back triple from Rodriguez against Shved put Milan in front, 34-33 late in the second. A three-point play from Shved, and a last-second triple from Chris Kramer sent Khimki with 38-39 lead into halftime.
After hitting 7 triples in the first half, Khimki found success taking it to the rim in the third quarter with Shved, Jerebko and Booker each scoring twice, before Timma's three-pointer capped a 0-15 run to make it 42-54. Milan was held scoreless for almost 6 minutes, but Della Valle's three-point play sparked life into the hosts. Shved knocked down another triple and Khimki went into the final quarter up 51-59. Roll and Rodriguez halved the deficit at the start of the fourth, but a Shved-to-Booker alley-oop sparked a 0-7 run, during which Bertans nailed a triple and Khimki's lead was back into double-digits, 55-66 with 6 minutes to go. Milan attempted another charge, but could not get it going offensively. Baskets were few and far between. Rodriguez hit a triple to get Milan to 69-74 entering the final minute, but Booker answered with a close-range basket with 30 seconds left, sealing the deal.
Khimki held Milan without a basket for 5 minutes and 40 seconds, turning a 42-39 deficit into a 42-54 lead early in the third quarter.
Khimki shot 11 for 27 from three-point land, but an excellent 7 for 14 in the first half when six different Khimki players hit a triple. Milan, on the other hand, finished the night 3 for 21 (14.3%).
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In a playoff race that is getting tighter with each passing round, Khimki's sweep of Milan could be of huge importance. Khimki also beat Milan 87-79 at home in Round 8.
Milan has now lost six of its last seven games. After starting the season with a 7-2 record, Milan has now suffered a defeat in 12 of its last 16 games.
Next week in Round 26, Khimki will be at home against LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne and Milan will travel to play Zalgiris Kaunas.