Nanterre 92 needed to work hard for its opening night win over Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana. Nanterre rallied back from an 11-point deficit in the second quarter and then fought hard to hold Olimpija off when the visitors erased a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
"In the money time we played good and scored important baskets", said Nanterre head coach Pascual Donnadieu after the victory, while not shying from pointing out the two main contributors in the 80-76 win:
"The team made a big team effort. [Isaia] Cordinier played very good, [Alpha] Kaba was very good tonight; he was dominating inside tonight."
Cordinier had 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Kaba finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds. Nanterre won the rebounding battle 46-28, as these two players had almost as many rebounds as the entire Olimpija side.
The big man was also an intimidating factor. He had 3 blocked shots, including 2 in the early going, which set the tone right away for the rest of the game. Olimpija was just 12 for 30 on two-point shots for the night and the visitors stayed away from the paint late in the game, attempting just 11 two-pointers in the second half and just 3 two-point attempts in the fourth quarter.
What worked for Olimpija was long-distance shooting, as it made 14 triples - twice as many as Nanterre's 7 three-pointers. But, when the visitors caught fire in the fourth quarter, Nanterre had Cordinier to lift the hosts up. He scored 17 of his 20 points in the second half. In the fourth quarter alone, he collected 7 points and 5 rebounds.
The victory gave Nanterre a big boost to start this EuroCup campaign, but also a way how to stick to their strengths in the games to come: "We kept playing, we kept the energy", Cordinier pointed out. "That's the way we want to play and that's the way we want to be as a team."