It seems like destiny that Marcos Knight and Rob Gray should be two of the big heroes as AS Monaco booked its ticket to the 7DAYS EuroCup Finals for the first time in club history. After all, both of them have been starring all season in their debut campaign in the competition.
Knight tallied a team-high 17 points and Gray nailed the game-winning jumper with 0.2 seconds left in Monaco's 74-76 road victory over Herbalife Gran Canaria on Friday for a 2-0 sweep of their best-of-three semifinal series.
With the win, Monaco became the second French League team to reach the EuroCup Finals after Strasbourg played for the crown in 2016 but lost to Galatasaray Istanbul.
Monaco will look now to finish a job it didn't have a chance to last season when, after it had locked up home-court advantage in the quarterfinals, the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the remainder of the season.
Knight joined the team in the off-season and was already 31 years old when making EuroCup debut back in October. He has been big for Monaco all season long, too, including in do-or-die Game 3 of the quarterfinals against Buducnost VOLI Podgorica, when he collected 12 points and 12 rebounds to get Monaco into the semis.
Knight was big again in Game 2 versus Gran Canaria, collecting 8 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, including 6 points in a 3-11 surge after the hosts had tied the game early in the fourth quarter, 59-59. Knight's scoring seemingly put Monaco in the clear, but when Gran Canaria tied again, 74-74, with 3.2 seconds left to play, it was Gray's turn for the heroics.
Gray, who turned 27 last week, started his debut EuroCup season with Boulogne Metropolitans. In mid-season, he moved to Monaco and was head coach Zvezdan Mitrovic's super-sub, coming off the bench and leading the team in scoring with 17.1 points a game.
Gray poured in 25 points including 5 three-pointers in Monaco's Game 1 home win against Gran Canaria, but he was held in check on the road in Game 2 with just 7 points on as many shots going into the final possession.
Inbounding from the sideline with no time to waste, Dee Bost found Gray on the right wing. After creating a minimum of space, Gray rose over the taller John Shurna and drained the jumper.
When it fell through the net, Monaco was in the finals for the first time, with two EuroCup first-timers playing huge roles.