The players and coaching staff at MoraBanc Andorra know the theory well. If you win at home and steal a victory or two on the road, the path to the next round is guaranteed. Last season MoraBanc fell short on both fronts, losing twice at home and failing to win any road games as it was ousted from the 7DAYS EuroCup at the end of the regular season. However, had it scored a road win at either Fiat Turin or Cedevita Zagreb, both of which it handled at home, MoraBanc would have advanced.
Fast forward one season and MoraBanc is in much better shape. Through six rounds, Coach Ibon Navarro's men were undefeated at home, but winless on the road. That changed for the better on Wednesday with a 73-79 road win over Germani Brescia Leonessa. The result snapped a 14-month, eight-game losing streak on the road in the EuroCup and moved MoraBanc into a tie for second place in Group A at 4-3.
Incidentally, it was the club's second-ever road win in a European competition. The first was in Andorra's Korac Cup premier in September 1995 in Austria against ABC Trodat Wels. Including that season, Andorra has lost 12 in a row away from home.
Coach Navarro and his charges were acutely aware of their road record and he addressed it in the post-game interview: "We were close to winning in Monaco, we were close in Belgrade and now we have the first [road win]. Our goal is to be able to play strong at home and on the road."
One of the key to the victory was defense; the 73 points allowed were the fewest by MoraBanc all season. Another was getting 42 points off the bench, including a season-high 16 on 7-of-8 two-point shooting from Oliver Stevic.
Stevic is now 23 for 26 on two-pointers this season. His 88.5% conversion rate, which is higher than his free throw success rate (73.3%) is better than the competition's single-season record! That belongs Primoz Brezec at 85.5% in the 2011-12 campaign for Krasnye Krylia, at least for now. If Stevic continues like this, the record will be his soon.
And if the team from Andorra continues like this, it will also be in line to make history. Now that MoraBanc got the monkey off its back, it can steam ahead and seek to qualify for the Top 16 as soon as next week.