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Olimpia built its 79-57 win over Alba Berlin with a great defensive effort


Olimpia’s defense set the tone in Kaunas, too, forced 32 turnovers, kept Alba Berlin under 60 points, under 30 percent from three-point range and allowed just nine free throws. That was the key of a 79-57 win in the semifinal game of the Kaunas “We’Re Back” EuroLeague tournament. Olimpia struggled a little bit late in the first and very early in the second quarter, when Alba with a 13-0 run, went from seven points behind to build a six-point lead. But gradually Olimpia adjusted, improved its ball movement and when it mattered the most scored the decisive field goals, on top of going 22-for-23 from the line. “It was the first time we were tested by this kind of aggressive defense, capable to force turnovers. After the first quarter, I think we were clever in attacking the traps. On the other side, our defensive effort was good throughout the game, we built our game from there,” Coach Ettore Messina said. When retook the lead, Olimpia never relinquished it. Alba shot the ball better from the outside in the second half especially with Peyton Siva, but Milan had all the answers it needed, in spite of missing Kaleb Tarczewski, who tried to play on sprained ankle but after less than six minutes spent on the court, had to give up. Another good sign was the ability to overcome foul troubles. Early in the third, both the starting guards, Malcolm Delaney and Kevin Punter, had three fouls. Sergio Rodriguez led the scores with 14 points, Zach LeDay added 13 (he went 8-for-8 from the line) and Kyle Hines 12. Delaney had six assists, Gigi Datome and Shavon Shields completed a true and complete team effort with six rebounds each.