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Mission accomplished: Olimpia defeated Valencia 95-80 in Datome’s career night


Mission accomplished. Olimpia defeated Valencia 95-80 and turn the point differential around, since it had lost by five in Spain during the first leg. Olimpia took control of the game decisively in the second quarter when it scored 33 points, held Valencia to 16 nad built a huge lead that was expanded up to 24 in the third period. Valencia, extending the defense and using the zone, than executing better on offense, came back within seven. Again, Olimpia kept its composure and responded. “When they came back, we played four excellent minutes, we got some stops defensively, we got some rebounds and we made the shots. It was excellent. I need to congratulate my players for the way the kept the focus after five days, stuck on the road,” Coach Ettore Messina said.

Olimpia made 16 threes, shot the ball well from everywhere including from the line where it went 9-for-9. Gigi Datomwe was awesome, tying his career-high of 27 points with six threes. With no Shields and no Micov, Riccardo Moraschini started at the small forward position and opened up the game with a maverlous four-point play, he then finished with a team-high four assists. It was a collective effort, with Malolcom Delaney scoring 17 points, Zach LeDay adding 15 and Kevin Punter had 14. “We moved the ball well and we found open threes from the corner because of that, defensively we somehow were able to contain their post-up game especially Kalinic, who’s a nightmare, and their dribble penetration,” Messina added.

“It’s been crazy, the last four days were tough. We had a win in Madrid and then two days off by mistake [because a snowstorm closed Madrid’s airport]. But mentally we stayed focused, and we had a decent practice yesterday. We’re starting to get a bit of momentum and being confident in each other,” Malcolm Delaney remarked at the end. Olimpia forced 16 turnovers, controlled the boards, shot 63 percent from two. “When they came back, we stayed calm and kept on playing our game. We stepped up defensively because we were not at the level we needed to be and then we kept finding good shots,” Gigi Datome said.

Kaleb Tarczewski appeared in its EuroLeague game number 100 with Olimpia. He is the first player ever to reach that milestone with a red and white jersey on in the top European competition.