Monaco edges Rytas
AS Monaco registered its first-ever Top 16 victory by edging visiting Rytas Vilnius 75-70 on Wednesday night. The result left both teams with 1-1 records and they were later joined by Partizan NIS Belgrade and ALBA Berlin to form a four-way tie in Group E. In a game that went down to the wire, the biggest lead of the night was 13-21, which Rytas held late in the first quarter. Neither team held a lead bigger than 6 points in the second half. Jarrod Jones had 15 points and 8 rebounds in victory, Elmedin Kikanovic also scored 15 and Gerald Robinson added 14 for Monaco, which was outrebounded 29-49 and still pulled out the victory. Martynas Echodas had 13 points for Rytas, while Dominique Sutton collected 12 points plus 7 rebounds and D.J. Seeley had 10 points and 9 rebounds in defeat.
Derek Needham and Robinson each made a three-pointer to build an early 11-4 lead, but Art Parakhouski sparked a big run during which Echodas and Sutton each had a dunk, while Deividas Sirvydis and Mindaugas Girdziunas each knocked down a triple. Lazeric Jones snapped a 2-17 run with a jumper to make it 15-21 after 10 minutes. Eric Buckner and Robinson got Monaco within 21-23. Seeley hit a baseline jumper and Sutton scored inside to establish a 23-30 advantage, but the hosts scored the next 7 points, including a three-pointer from Jarrod Jones to tie the game. Sutton's basket gave Rytas a 30-32 halftime lead. Jarrod Jones had a three-point play and Kikanovic strung together 7 points, including a three-point play, to put Monaco up 40-38 midway through the third quarter. However, Rok Stipcevic hit a three-pointer for the visitors and dished a no-look pass for a Parakhouski dunk that helped Rytas take a 47-51 lead into the fourth quarter. Buckner had a pair of dunks and Jarrod Jones nailed a three, but Echodas strung together 7 points of his own, including an alley-oop dunk-plus-foul to keep Rytas in front. Another put-back from Buckner and another triple from Jarrod Jones gave Monaco a 65-62 edge, but Seeley answered with a three-pointer for the visitors. Lazeric Jones and Robinson scored baskets that put the hosts back in front, but Sutton tied it twice with close-range buckets. However, Needham hit a long jumper with 1:20 to go, which Monaco followed up with two defensive stands to keep the lead for good.
Rytas outrebounded the hosts 49-29, including 17-7 on the offensive glass. But Rytas committed 20 turnovers, to only 10 by Monaco, which evened things out.
Last week Monaco missed its first 17 three-point shots. This week, Monaco made its first 2 three-point shots early in the first quarter and then made just 1 of its next 16 attempts. The hosts then made 3 of 5 behind the arc in the fourth quarter.
Defense wins it
This was the fourth time this season that Monaco kept its opponents at 70 points or fewer, however the first since Round 3 of the regular season. All three of those previous performances happened in the opening three rounds of the season.
In Round 3 next week, Monaco travels to the Serbian capital for the second time this season, this time to face Partizan NIS Belgrade on Tuesday. A day later, Rytas will host ALBA Berlin.
Wednesday, January 9, 2019