Monaco sweeps Gran Canaria to reach finals!
Rob Gray nailed the game-winning jumper with 0.2 seconds left to send AS Monaco to the 7DAYS EuroCup finals for the first time with a 74-76 victory over Herbalife Gran Canaria for a 2-0 sweep of their best-of-three semifinal series. Monaco squandered a 13-point lead and even watched Gran Canaria come back from an eight-point deficit with 81 seconds to play before Gray's heroics. Marcos Knight led the way with 17 points while Dee Bost and Jaleel O'Brien each had 15 points. Damien Inglis chipped in 12 points and 7 rebounds. Gran Canaria was hoping to stay alive and get back to the finals for the first time since 2015 but Stanley Okoye's 15 points were not enough. Aleksander Balcerowski added 12 points and Matt Costello scored 11 points with 9 rebounds in the loss.
Oliver Stevic opened the scoring for the hosts with a jumper and Inglis had a put-back before Mathis Lessort's free throws gave Monaco its first lead 4-6. Stevic added 6 more points and Costello had a triple and dunk in helping Gran Canaria opened a 17-13 lead. Bost answered with the next 5 points to put Monaco ahead only to see Okoye tally seven points in Gran Canaria’s 9-3 finish to the quarter and a 26-21 lead. Gray's free throws started the second quarter with Balcerowski using his height advantage for 4 points that put Gran Canaria up 32-27. Monaco took advantage of some Gran Canaria turnovers with O'Brien nailing 2 three-pointers in a 0-18 run over almost 7 minutes for the visitors to seize a 32-45 lead. Javier Beiran's put-back finally stopped the bleeding and Gran Canaria was down 35-45 at the break.
Balcerowski hit a hook shot to get the deficit to single digits 37-46 early in the third quarter. Monaco was able to push it back to 13 points at 41-54 when Balcerowski picked up 5 points and Costello made it 49-56 after 30 minutes. Costello kept the momentum going with the first score of the final frame and Sean Kilpatrick picked up 5 points before Okoye drained a three-pointer to knot the game 59-59 with 7 minutes left. Knight stopped the Gran Canaria surge and Bost drained a triple to take back a 59-64 advantage for Monaco. Okoye countered with a three-pointer of his own but Monaco shut down Gran Canaria for the next four possessions and Knight twice scored at the rim for a 62-70 cushion with under 3 minutes to play. A.J. Slaughter picked up his first 5 points and Costello made it 71-74 with 29 seconds to play. Bost missed 2 free throws with 6.3 ticks left and then fouled Andrew Albicy, who drained all 3 of his foul shots with 3.2 seconds remaining to even the game 74-74. Monaco made it all for naught as Bost inbounded to Gray, who hit the jumper over John Shurna and make history for the club.
Monaco became the second French League team to reach the EuroCup Finals after Strasbourg played for the EuroCup crown in 2016 but lost to Galatasaray Istanbul.
Marcos Knight came up big for Monaco as he tallied 8 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter. The 31-year-old, who is playing in the EuroCup for the first time, also collected 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals for an index rating of 21.
Monaco only won the rebound battle 36-34 but the guests grabbed 14 offensive rebounds and turned that into a 15-10 advantage in second-chance points. Monaco also scored 22 points off 16 Gran Canaria turnovers to 8 by the hosts off 11 Monaco miscues.
Monaco will next take on the winner of Game 3 of the Semifinal B between UNICS Kazan and Virtus Segafredo Bologna in the EuroCup Finals.
Friday, April 9, 2021