Monaco clinches first place in Group A
AS Monaco clinched first place in Group A of the 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season by downing Galatasaray Istanbul 76-71 at home on Wednesday. Monaco improved to 7-2 in Group A, while Galatasaray fell to a 3-6 and was eliminated from the competition. Ian Hummer and Elmedin Kikanovic led the winners with 14 points apiece, Paul Lacombe added 13 and Derek Needham had 11 for Monaco. Tai Webster and Aaron Harrison led Galatasaray with 18 points apiece, Nigel Hayes added 14 and Zach Auguste posted 10 points and 13 rebounds for the visitors.
Kikanovic and Needham allowed Monaco to get an early 7-3 lead. Auguste answered with a three-point play and Hayes added a layup to give Galatasaray its first lead, 7-8. Hummer and Lacombe stepped up with consecutive layups, but Harrison and Webster kept the visitors ahead, 13-14. A close basket by Hummer gave Monaco a 15-14 lead after 10 minutes. Erolcan Cink fed Auguste for a dunk and struck from downtown to give Galatasaray a 19-21 edge early in the second quarter. Lacombe and Hummer kept pushing Monaco, scoring 4 points apiece before the visitors stopped the game at 27-25. Marko Arapovic swished a jumper and an outstanding Hayes restored a 29-32 Galatasaray lead. Kikanovic took over late in the first half, getting help from Jarrod Jones to give Monaco a 39-37 edge at the break. Lacombe hit a triple soon after halftime and Kikanovic added his trademark jump hook for a 44-39 Monaco lead. Lacombe kept pacing the hosts with consecutive layups, Needham added a big triple, and a floater by Jarrod Jones made it a double-digit game, 53-43. Needham scored again and back-to-back three-pointers by Sergii Gladyr broke the game open at 63-46 at the end of the third quarter. Galatasaray improved its defense in the fourth quarter and a three-pointer by Hayes made it a single-digit game, 65-56. Webster took over with a three-point play and a free throw by Auguste got Galatasaray as close as 65-60 with three minutes left. Kikanovic hit 3 of 4 foul shots and Hummer added a layup, but Hayes and Harrison got Galatasaray within striking distance, 70-67, with 45.7 seconds left. Hummer hit free throws only to see Harrison answer with a 10-meter bomb for a 72-70 score. Lazeric Jones and Needham combined for 4 of 6 free throws in crunch time to help Monaco put the victory on ice.
Once again, Lacombe had a strong all-around performance to lead Monaco to an important win. Not only did he score 13 points, but Lacombe also added 8 rebounds and 4 assists for a team-high performance index rating of 19.
The final eight minutes of the third quarter sealed the outcome. Lacombe started a 19-5 run with back-to-back layups and Gladyr closed it with consecutive three-point shots. When the dust settled, Monaco led 63-46 and was well on its way to clinching first place in Group A.
Second-chance opportunities and two-point shooting percentage made the difference in the game. Monaco outrebounded Galatasaray 33-26 and pulled down 11 offensive boards. Monaco hit 23 of 38 two-point shots (60.5%) and Galatasaray hit just 15 of 33 shots inside the arc (45.5%).
Did you notice?
Monaco is the first EuroCup newcomer to finish first in its regular season group in five years. Back in the 2013-14 season, two EuroCup debutantes - Union Olimpija Ljubljana and Nizhny Novgorod - finished atop their respective regular season groups.
Both teams return to EuroCup action next week. Monaco visits Morabanc Andorra on Tuesday. Galatasaray hosts Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on Wednesday.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018