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An historic night in Madrid, Olimpia built the lead with the defense and won 80-76


It was an historic night in Madrid. Olimpia defeated Real Madrid 80-76 after an impressive outing, full of great plays at the right time, a lot of defense and sacrificing performances, like the one that Riccardo Moraschini had. Picked as a starter because of Shavon Shields’ late scratch for an injury and with no Vlade Micov to help at the small forward positon, Moraschini defended as a man possessed, grabbed 10 rebounds and was everywhere on the floor.

Following a very balanced first half, the score was tied at 39, Olimpia made a defensive show in the third quarter, holding Real Madrid to just 10 points and exploding for a 17-point lead after eight minutes. Real Madrid attempted a comeback led by Jaycee Carroll and Trey Thompkins, but Olimpia was able to keep the lead and to respond when the margin was reduced to three points. “We have so much respect for Real Madrid, and we knew that they were coming out very aggressive. Two teams that were missing key players, and I think everybody in my team made a step forward. Of course, we are very pleased. I think we never won here as a club or it maybe happened once many years ago. It is a big win for us and now we need to regroup. We are a little bit short in the rotation because we have two big games next week, as always,”, Coach Ettore Messina said at end. Olimpia is now 6-3 on the road.

Sergio Rodriguez made a crucial three, scoring 17 points for the night in just 14 minutes spent on the court; Malcolm Delaney added 14 with five assists and Zach LeDay had 12 points. Gigi Datome was instrumental in the first half when he scored nine points with no misses, and everyone made the big plays, including Kaleb Tarczewski (8 points, 4-for-6, 4 rebounds for the game). “We just wanted to be aggressive and move the ball. We know from our scouting report that if we moved them a little bit, we could attack and get some easy shots. We executed well. It is big – we started the new year with a win,” Malcolm Delaney explained. “This is a step forward. The guys were great in the third quarter to build the lead,” Gigi Datome added.

Olimpia won in Madrid once in his history, in 2004, while the two teams participated in the old Uleb Cup, but when they competed for the top competition, it was always a tough night here. Not this time. Ironically on the eve of the club’s 85th anniversary.