Knight leads Monaco to road win
AS Monaco put one foot in what would bit its third consecutive 7DAYS EuroCup Top 16 by downing host Telenet Giants Antwerp by 67-75 on Tuesday in Belgium. Monaco ended a two-game losing streak to boost its record to 4-2 while Antwerp continues hunting its first victory after seven tries. Marcos Knight paced the winners with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Mathias Lessort added 16 points, J.J. Obrien 11 and Abdoulaye Ndoye 10 for Monaco. Ibrahima Fay led Antwerp with 14 points while David Dudzinski and Stephaun Branch put up 12 each.
Knight's 7 early points sent Monaco in front 2-9. A three-point play by O'Brien and Lessort's put-back dunk boosted the difference to 4-16. A pair of triples from Dudzinski got Antwerp within 10-19. The hosts' Vrenz Bleijenbergh went coast-to-coast for a three-point play for a 16-20 score after 10 minutes. Ndoye's three-pointer steadied Monaco but Antwerp reeled it back to 21-23 before Darral Willis, Dee Bost, Wilfried Yeguete and Knight filled a 5-19 run that broke the game open at 26-42. Dudzinki ended the drought for Antwerp as he and Speedy Smith helped the hosts cut the difference to 32-42 at the break. Vincent Kesteloot kept Antwerp's run going after halftime before Stephane Branch trimmed the Monaco lead to single digits and Smith drilled a triple in transition to make it 41-46. Knight and Ndoye combined for the next 6 points for Monaco to lead 41-52. Knight from deep and Lessort with 3 points the hard way boosted Monaco's lead back to 43-58. Branch had 4 late points as Antwerp stayed within touching distance of the lead, 49-58, after three quarters. Bleijenbergh and Roby Rogiers combined on the first 4 points of the final quarter to make it 53-58 but consecutive baskets by Knight and a triple by O'Brien send Monaco back to a double-digit lead, 55-65. Faye's 4 points made it 63-71 going into the final 2 minutes, but time had run out on the hosts and the victory was on its way back to Monaco
Marcus Knight was everywhere for the winners, not only leading them with 20 points, but at 1.88 meters also getting a double-double with 10 rebounds and adding 6 assists to flirt with a triple-double. All those stats and his 27 PIR were season highs for the 7DAYS EuroCup rookie.
It was 26-32 midway through the second quarter when Dee Bost lit Monaco's fuse with a three-pointer, and after Knight and Darral Willis scored shorter baskets, returned with another strike from the arc for a 10-0 run in 90 seconds to a 26-42 lead that Antwerp could never fully overcome.
Signs of improvement
Even though Antwerp couldn't complete its comeback, it was not for lack of trying and got within 5 early in the fourth quarter. It was quite an improvement over the first game between these teams, which Monoaco won 96-64 with a team PIR difference of 123-49. This time, the PIR difference was just 71-84, proving that Antwerp has learned a lot in a few weeks.
Stepping in, stepping up
With head coach Zvezdan Mitrovic staying behind in Monaco due to back spasms, assistant coach Mirko Ocokoljic headed the Monaco bench with former team star Sergii Gladyr at his side as lead assistant.
Antwerp is scheduled to turn around and play again in 48 hours as a visitor to MoraBanc Andorra on Thursday in what would be a replay of their Round 7 game, postponed due to COVID-19. Monaco is waiting for a replay with MoraBanc, too, but while that game is pending, its next regularly scheduled one is not until might Virtus Segafredo Bologna visits the principality on for a Round 9 game on Wednesday, December 9.
Tuesday, November 17, 2020