Metropolitans stops Buducnost on road
Boulogne Metropolitans 92 refused to trail on the court of Buducnost VOLI Podgorica on Friday to hang on for a 71-73 road win in a rescheduled Round 7 game between two teams already headed to the Top 16 from Group B. Metropolitans raised its record to 6-3 in second place and Buducnost dropped to 5-4 in third. Their final places, however, won't be known until the 10th and final game of the regular season next week. Anthony Brown's gutsy three-pointer with 12 seconds left made the difference for Metropolitans. Bastien Pinault led the winners with 15 points, while Anthony Brown had 13 and Brandon Brown 11. Buducnost got 15 each from Justin Cobbs, Nikola Ivanovic and Willie Reed, who also had 9 rebounds, while Melvin Ejim scored 11 more points.
David Michineau opened the scoring and assisted a triple by Bastien Pinault as Metropolitans shot ahead 2-7. Assem Marei and Anthony Brown soon joined the effort to make it 5-11. Willie Reed reeled it back for Buducnost with consecutive baskets at 11-13, but Tomer Ginat, Miralem Halilovic and Maxime Roos all responded for the visitors before Brandon Brown's triple made it a double-digit lead on the way to a 17-29 Metropolitans lead after 10 minutes. Dragan Apic, Justin Cobbs and Melvin Ejim righted Buducnost's ship with an 8-0 run to start the second quarter by getting the hosts within 25-29. Marei stopped the visitors' four-minute scoring drought, but the battle was joined. Pinault's second triple calmed Metropolitans but Ejim, Suad Sehovic and Nikola got Buducnost within 35-36. Michineau raced coast-to-coast and Cobbs bettered him with a three-point play, but Metropolitans held onto a 41-38 halftime lead. Ejim's triple and a free throw by Cobbs gave Buducnost a 42-42 tie after the break. Anthony Brown avoided a lead change before Halilovic and Brandon Brown pushed the visitors back up by 43-50. But the hosts responded again with Fedor Zugic's free throws and dunk forcing a Metropolitans timeout at 50-51. Pinault stopped that threat with a jumper and soon Michineau beat the third-quarter buzzer with a tip-in for a 52-57 Metropolitans advantage. The visitors stayed one step ahead through the middle of the fourth quarter, when they still lead 61-65. Cobbs drove hard to cut that in half, but Anthony Brown conjured a reverse layup at 63-67. Ivanovic and Reed connected on an alley-oop dunk and Reed's free throws soon forged another tie, 67-67, with 2 minutes left. There things stood until Anthony Brown's gutsy three-pointer with 12 seconds left following a huge offensive rebound by Lahaou Konate. A carousel of free throws followed, but only when a final foul was waived off following video review for having happened after the buzzer could Metropolitans breathe easy.
Metropolitans had not scored for 4 minutes while Buducnost tied 67-67 when, with 26 seconds left, Ginat Tomer missed from deep. Lahaou Konate came up with the offensive rebound and recirculated the ball to Anthony Brown, who faced down Buducnost center Willie Reed on the wing. Brown then hit his first triple after 5 previous misses with 12 seconds left in what proved to be the difference-maker for the victory.
Did you notice?
Seven fouls were committed and 8 free throws taken in the game's last 10 seconds. That's because Buducnost had committed just 1 fourth-quarter foul before then and, down by 70-69, had to take 4 fouls in 5 seconds to extend the drama by making Metropolitans go to the free throw line. Every time the visitors led by 3 points, they fouled to avoid a game-tying shot. Tense moments for both teams down the stretch.
Metropolitans was dominant inside, converting 25 of 41 two-point shots (61.0%) as six different players made 3 or more. Buducnost suffered from almost non-existent three-point shooting on its own court, making just 1 of 15 on the night.
Group B possibilities
Metropolitans did not cover the score difference from their first game, when Buducnost won 83-89 in Paris. As such, going into Round 10 next week, no Group B final places are decided. Metropolitans (6-3) can still challenge Unicaja Malaga (7-2) or fall behind Buducnost (5-4) for third. Buducnost could end up fourth, too, with a loss in its final group game.
On Tuesday, December 15, Metropolitans finished the regular season at home against already-eliminated Germani Brescia. One night later, Buducnost hosts Mornar Bar (4-5) in Round 10 on knowing that their Montenegrin rival will qualify for the Top 16 with a win.
Friday, December 11, 2020