AX Armani Exchange Milan brought in a lot of EuroLeague experience over the summer, and we did not have to wait long to see that experience pay its first dividends. Milan overcame 18 turnovers and pulled out a thrilling season-opening overtime road win against FC Bayern Munich, thanks to a game-winning three-pointer from one of the new signings, Shavon Shields, with 9 seconds left in overtime.
Shields is one of many Milan’s newcomers, a group that accounted for 53 of the team’s 81 points for the night. Luigi Datome had a big defensive role, Shields spent a team-high 37 minutes on the floor, Zach LeDay helped inside, while veteran center Kyle Hines scored 16 points and brought leadership and toughness to the team.
“There are no babies in EuroLeague,” Hines said after the victory. “We expected it to be a physical game, especially here against this type of team.”
Perhaps more than anyone, though, the player who did the most to get Milan into a position to win was another high-profile summer addition, Malcolm Delaney. The former All-EuroLeague guard first got Milan going by dishing 4 assists in his opening 5 minutes, and when he returned to the floor in the second quarter his 8 points gave Milan a 5-point lead, the largest for any team in the game.
Delaney had 11 points at the end of regulation, then went on to score 6 in the overtime, including a pair of tough off-balance runners. Milan needed someone to take the ball in his hands in the key moments of a close game, and Delaney was just the man to take that responsibility – especially in the absence of starting shooting guard Kevin Punter. His great work set up Shields’ heroics to get the ambitious squad of coach Ettore Messina off to a winning start.