Boulogne Metropolitans 92 picked up its first win of the season and the club's first road win since March 2015 with an 80-86 decision over ratiopharm Ulm. Metropolitans survived a barrage of Ulm's three-pointers, a total of 15, thanks to the effort on the offensive glass.
"The fact that from all the possible rebounds on defense, we took just 53% is just disappointing", Ulm head coach Jaka Lakovic could only state after the game.
Ulm had just 16 defensive boards in this game, while Metropolitans had 13 offensive rebounds. More importantly, 7 of those offensive boards came in the final 8 minutes of the fourth quarter as the game was going down to the wire. Metropolitans' hero was their recently-acquired center Assem Marei, who accounted for 8 offensive boards, tying the club record.
"I like Marei, he just came [recently] because Miralem Halilovic is hurt", Metropolitans assistant coach Sacha Giffa said post-game. "He brought some energy and toughness inside."
Marei was signed to a short-term deal in late September, just days before the Round 1. After playing limited minutes in the season opener but still producing 7 points and 3 rebounds, he then collected 11 points plus 4 rebounds last week. And then Marei exploded on Wednesday. He collected 15 points on 6-for-7 two-point shooting plus 13 rebounds, including 8 on the offensive glass, and also had 3 assists and 2 steals.
His defensive effort also helped hold Dylan Ostenkowski, Ulm's top scorer coming into the game, to just 2 two-point attempts and a total of 5 points for the night.
Metropolitans played with a sense of urgency, something the team lacked early in the first two rounds, and it showed. They made runs, withstood rallies and killer-shooting and got a road win to escape from the bottom of the table and get into a Top 16 race that is quickly heating up.