2020-21Top 16Round 6
March 09, 2021 CET: 19:00
Local time: 19:00 MARTIN CARPENA

Monaco finishes strong to beat Unicaja

Already-qualified AS Monaco confirmed its dominance in Group E by defeating Unicaja Malaga 89-98 on the road on Tuesday night. The visitors built an early 6-15 lead, but allowed 37 second-half quarter that saw them trail 76-71 early in the fourth. Consecutive three-point plays by Mathias Lessort and Rob Gray boosted a 2-13 run down the stretch that sealed the outcome for the visitors, who finished first in the group with 5-1. Mathias Lessort led the winners with a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds, both career-highs, against his former team. Dee Bost followed him with 21 points on 5-of-6 three-point shooting. Damien Inglis scored 16 and Rob Gray 10 for Monaco. Jaime Fernandez poured in a career-high 28 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting for Unicaja, which finished last in the group with one win in six games. Francis Alonso had 18 points and 7 assists for a career-high PIR of 28, while Axel Bouteille contributed 17 points and 6 assists and Yannick Nzosa provided career-highs in points (16) and blocks (4) in defeat.

The visitors had a strong start to lead 2-8. Even though Unicaja tried to change the trend with a timeout, Monaco kept scoring with ease and extended the gap to 6-15 behind a three-pointer by Bost and layups from Lessort and Inglis. Fernandez stepped up and combined with Nzosa to reanimate the hosts, 15-18. Lessort replied in the paint and J.J. O’Brien went to the line to close the first quarter with the visitors ahead 18-24. Both teams excelled in offense early in the second, but Unicaja benefitted the most from it as triples by Tim Abromaitis, Alonso and Bouteille led to its first lead, 36-34, after 15 minutes. The scoring showdown didn’t stop, as both teams kept getting buckets on almost every play. Bouteille hit again from downtown to keep Unicaja in front, 46-43, then Fernandez and Alonso joined in with back-to-back triples to bring the hosts up 55-48 at halftime.

The shooters took a break in the third quarter and although the visitors kept a good scoring flow through their frontcourt, Unicaja maintained a 63-56 advantage thanks to Nzosa and Deon Thompson’s hustle. Bost stepped up from downtown and Lessort followed in the paint to make it 65-64. Bost kept scoring, but Fernandez and Bouteille took the reins to help Unicaja enter the last quarter up 73-69. Bost drilled a three to cap a four-point play that got it all square. Marcos Knight returned the lead to the visitors, 77-79, soon after. Fernandez strung together a couple of jumpers to tie it again, but Lessort took advantage of Nzosa’s absence to contribute consecutive basket-plus-foul plays that opened an 82-88 gap for the visitors with 3 minutes remaining. A transition three-pointer and free throws by Gray allowed Monaco to extend it to 84-95 entering crunch time as a 5-second violation inbounding a ball in the last minute ruined Unicaja’s last attempt to come back.

Game-changing moment

After a crazy scoring game, with several ups and downs and lead changes, Jaime Fernandez nailed a three-pointer to get it all square, 82-82, midway through the last quarter. Two consecutive three-point plays by Mathias Lessort right after that allowed Monaco to escape, while a three-pointer and 3 free throws by Rob Gray decided the game soon after.

Key stats

Offensive rebounding and turnovers proved crucial in this game, as the visitors took almost half of their 98 points from those situations. Monaco made 25 points off Unicaja’s turnovers and added 20 second-chance points from 12 offensive boards.

Did you know?

Mathias Lessort seems to feel pretty good every time he plays against his former team Unicaja, where he spent the 2018-19 season. His 21 points and 11 rebounds were both career-highs, but he also got career-bests in PIR (32), offensive rebounds (8) and steals (4) in the previous matchup against Unicaja in Top 16 Round 2.

What’s next?

AS Monaco will face Buducnost VOLI Podgorica in the 7DAYS EuroCup best-of-three quarterfinals, starting on March, 23. The first game will take place in Monaco. Unicaja Malaga said goodbye to the competition after finishing last in Group E.

Mathias Lessort - AS Monaco (photo Unicaja - Mariano Pozo) - EC20
Tuesday, March 9, 2021
Eurocupbasketball.com
Referees: PATERNICO, CARMELO; DRAGOJEVIC, IGOR; CICI, GENTIAN
Attendance: 348
By Quarter1234
Unicaja Malaga18371816
AS Monaco24242129
End of Quarter1234
Unicaja Malaga18557389
AS Monaco24486998
Unicaja Malaga
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
2 THOMPSON, DEON 27:43 7 2/4 0/1 3/4   6 6 1         1 3 12
3 FERNANDEZ, JAIME 31:41 28 6/8 5/8 1/2   1 1 3 3 4   1 2 4 26
6 SANTOS, RAFA DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
7 SENE, PIERRE DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
10 ALONSO, FRANCIS 37:10 18 2/2 3/8 5/5 1 2 3 7 2 2     1 6 28
16 SANCHEZ, PABLO 10:21     0/1         1         1   -1
21 WACZYNSKI, ADAM 14:28   0/1 0/2   1   1 1   2     3 1 -5
23 ABROMAITIS, TIM 12:17 3   1/1   1 3 4     2     4   1
32 GUERRERO, RUBEN 15:35   0/3     2   2     2     4 1 -6
33 NZOSA, YANNICK 24:25 16 8/9   0/2   3 3   1 3 4   4 2 16
83 BOUTEILLE, AXEL 26:20 17 3/5 3/6 2/2 1 1 2 6   1     2 1 18
Team           2   2     1         1
Totals 200:00 89 21/32 12/27 11/15 8 16 24 19 6 17 4 1 22 18 90
        65.6% 44.4% 73.3%
Head coach: KATSIKARIS, FOTIS
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
AS Monaco
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 BOST, DEE 19:56 21 3/6 5/6     2 2 3 1     1 1 1 22
2 CHOUPAS, YOHAN 20:04   0/1   0/2 2   2     1     3 1 -4
3 DEMAHIS, RUDY 16:17 3 0/2 1/1         2   2   1 2   -2
7 INGLIS, DAMIEN 28:27 16 6/8 1/2 1/1 1 3 4 1   1 1   2 4 20
9 KNIGHT, MARCOS 18:04 9 3/4 1/3     2 2 1   1     2   6
11 NDOYE, ABDOULAYE 18:35 4 2/3   0/2   2 2   1 1   1 2 3 3
15 YEGUETE, WILFRIED 15:31 6 2/3   2/2 1 3 4 1 2       1 3 14
22 O'BRIEN, JALEEL 19:49 8 3/4   2/2         1 1     2 1 6
26 LESSORT, MATHIAS 24:29 21 8/11   5/8 6 5 11 2 1 2   1   5 31
32 GRAY, ROB 18:48 10 1/4 1/1 5/6   1 1 3   4     3 4 7
Team           1 2 3     1         2
Totals 200:00 98 28/46 9/13 15/23 11 20 31 13 6 14 1 4 18 22 105
        60.9% 69.2% 65.2%
Head coach: MITROVIC, ZVEZDAN

Head Coaches

KATSIKARIS, FOTIS
Unicaja Malaga

"I have to congratulate Monaco for the game, for the victory, and for the first place in the group. I wish them good luck in the next stages They absolutely dominated the game, especially in the second half. Like I said before the game, they don’t let you play comfortably, the way they play, not only in defense but in offense too. They attacked and they punished every situation in which we had problems. It was a moment in the last quarter when we wanted, but we couldn’t. They scored a lot of points off turnovers, after offensive rebounds. If I remember well, they made like 25 or 27 points from it and on the other hand, their defense was very physical. That was a problem for us today, as we missed some more guards in order to have more creativity and not only scoring, besides Jaime Fernandez. It was difficult for us because we wanted to win this game just to finish the group with a win, but we couldn’t do it."

OCOKOLJIC, MIRKO

Assistant Coach AS Monaco

"I think we played very good from the beginning of the EuroCup season and we deserved the first place. It was not easy to make it, when we saw the group, when we saw the teams, it was not easy. Ww won first place, we need to prepare for the quarterfinals."

Players

LESSORT, MATHIAS
AS Monaco
"It’s always a special moment to play against my former team, I was happy to come here and see the fans. I tried to give everything on the court and I think it was a good game. We have the home-court advantage for the next round, so we are going to focus on this and try to make the most of it and advance to the semifinals."