Maccabi Tel Aviv learned just how important star center Nikola Vujcic on Thursday night. Without the Croatian, who remained at home with the flu, Maccabi suffered its worst lost in the history of the modern Euroleague at the hands of Armani Jeans Milano, 94-71, in Italy.
With new coach Sasha Djordjevic on the sidelines, Milano played inspired basketball and made its shots to crush the defending two-time Euroleague champs. Milano recorded 20 steals, shot 13-for-29 from beyond the arc and dished 23 assists. Maccabi had just seven assists.
Maccabi, which had a five-game losing streak snapped, fell to 8-4 in Group B and into a share of first place with Efes Pilsen. Tel Aviv now meets Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius next Thursday in Lithuania. Milano improved to 4-8 and kept its slim chances of advancing to the Top 16 alive.
Preston Shumpert led the hosts with a season-high 21 points, while veteran Claudio Coldebella, who was four-for-four from downtown, also netted a season-best 16. Dante Calabria was good for 16 points and seven rebounds, while Massimo Bulleri added 13 points and seven assists.
Anthony Parker led Tel Aviv with 22 points and eight rebounds and Derrick Sharp netted 11.