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Kyle Hines led the rally, but he couldn’t finish the job, Olimpia lost 83-81 to Varese


With a furious rally Olimpia took the lead after trailing for most of the game with 24 seconds left, thanks to a three-point play completed by Kyle Hines. But on the ensuing possessions, Michele Ruzzier anticipated Kevin Punter’s foul in a non-penalty situation to score and get to the line for a two-point lead with eight seconds remaining. Olimpia had one last chance to correct a subpar game, executed wel,l but the bank shot at the rim from Gigi Datome bounced off the rim. It was a heartbreaking 83-81 loss. “They deserved the win, the wanted it more than us, they more intensity, they played with patience – Coach Ettore Messina remarked at the end – Our defense was not adequate in the first half, when we allowed 45 points, than in a close game we missed some shots and lost. Fatigue is understandable at this juncture of the season, but during the last 15 days we made free mistakes that we need to eliminate to get back on track, where we have always been throughout the season.”

Olimpia led very early in the game, then Varese started hitting shots, inside and outside and led by as many as 11 points. Milan came back in the third when Punter and Moraschini combined to score 12 consecutive points. Finally, in the fourth, started behind by four, Olimpia improved its defensive effort and somehow managed to stay in the game. In the final minute, Kyle Hines stole a ball and assisted Rodriguez for two easy points, then made a huge block and on the ensuing possession completed a three-point play. In a span of 40 seconds, he single-handedly completed the rally. After Ruzzier three-point play, he had the potential assist to tie the game up. That didn’t work.