MoraBanc outlasts Monaco, takes second place
MoraBanc Andorra assured itself of a second place in Group A with an 87-80 victory over visiting AS Monaco on Tuesday. MoraBanc finished the regular season with a 6-4 record while Monaco, which had already won the group, had a 7-3 record. Both teams had previously qualified to the 7DAYS EuroCup Top 16. John Shurna's free throws and David Jelinek's triple broke a 77-77 tie with 3 minutes left to send MoraBanc forward to the win. Shurna led the victors with 17 points, while Andrew Albicy added 15 and Dylan Ennis 12. Monaco got 16 points from Jarrod Jones, 15 from Sergii Gladyr, and 14 from Elmedin Kikanovic.
Monaco took the initiative with a triple by newly-added Sergii Gladyr providing an early 5-10 advantage. Ennis turned things around before Michele Vitali's assist, steal and triple let MoraBanc lead 18-14 after one quarter. Vitali kept it going for a 23-16 advantage before Kikanovic made back-to-back baskets. He continued scoring until giving Monaco a new lead, 25-26. Ennis and Albicy, with back-to-back threes, restored a MoraBanc advantage of 39-34 at the half. Gladyr and Lazeric Jones helped Monaco go in front again but Shurna took over for the hosts as their lead reached 58-52. Jarrod Jones took up the cause for Monaco, pulling the visitors as close as 63-62 after 30 minutes. Ennis, Oliver Stevic and Reggie Upshaw kept Monaco at bay as MoraBanc opened a 77-68 lead with 4:20 to play. Kevin Cham and Jarrod Jones mounted Monaco's last stand with 3 triples in little more than a minute to forge a 77-77 tie. Shurna and Jelinek split all the points in MoraBanc's 10-3 finishing run to seize second place and head into the Top 16 with a big win.
No principality sweep
MoraBanc avenged its eight-point defeat in Monaco from earlier in the regular season. It will take them reuniting later in the playoffs for the first principality series in Euroleague Basketball history to be decided one way or the other.
Monaco big man Elmedin Kikanovic will have to wait until the Top 16 to become a 7DAYS EuroCup record-breaker. With 7 of 9 two-pointers made in Andorra, he has 388 in his career, tying Chuck Davis for first place all-time. His next basket will give him the record.
Veteran shooter Sergii Gladyr returned in style for Monaco, which left six players home to rest up from injuries for the Top 16. Gladyr needed only two games to get his EuroCup scoring average to double digits, which was his norm when playing for French teams Nanterre and Nancy between 2013 and 2015 .
With the victory, MoraBanc joins Top 16 Group H, which already has UNICS Kazan and Cedevita Zagreb. Monaco was already slotted into Top 16 Group E, where the other known opponents are Rytas Vilnius and Zenit St Petersburg. A draw will determine the Top 16 calendar, the first round of which will begin on January 2.
Tuesday, December 18, 2018