Metropolitans use second-half defense to grab second road win
Boulogne Metropolitans 92 grabbed back-to-back wins for the first time in more than two months in knocking off Slask Wroclaw 59-74 in Group A action. Metropolitans, which won Rounds 4 and 5 back in November, improved to 6-5 with a 2-4 mark on the road. Neither team really was able to pull away until Metropolitans put together a 2-15 run to grab a 41-53 lead late in the third quarter. Slask would get as close as 5 points, but the guests used a 2-14 surge to put it away. Keith Hornsby paced five Metropolitans scorers in double figures with 15 points while Tony Crocker scored 14 points, David Michineau had 12, Vince Hunter picked up 10 points and 11 rebounds and Tomer Ginat added 10 points. Travis Trice was the only Slask player in double figures with 11 points with Kerem Kanter chipping in 9 points and 14 rebounds. But they were not enough as Slask has now lost four straight for a 1-9 record.
Trice opened the game with a layup for the hosts and Will Cummings answered at the other end. Slask scored on five of its first six possessions, including a Trice three-pointer, and the advantage grew to 13-5. The hosts’ offense stalled and Crocker scored three baskets and Hornsby made a triple in a 3-11 spurt to knot the game at 16-16. Trice added 4 free throws and the game was even 20-20 after 10 minutes.
Kanter and Martins Meiers scored inside for Slask early in the second quarter and Metropolitans coach Vincent Collet immediately wanted a timeout. Jakub Karolak made it 27-22 with a three-pointer. The guests got out in transition for some scores including two by Miralem Halilovic to pull ahead 29-30. The lead changed hands four times over the rest of the half with Ginat putting Metropolitans ahead 35-36 at the break.
Ivan Ramljak started the scoring in the second half for Slask before the lead switched hands three times with Hornsby converting a three-point play and then Cummings’s layup putting Metropolitans ahead 39-43. Slask failed to produce offensively while Metropolitans got three-pointers from Crocker and Hornsby as the cushion swelled to 41-53. Slask managed to score the final 4 points of the quarter to make it 45-53 after 30 minutes.
Cyril Langevine opened the scoring in the final frame to get the hosts within 6. Crocker answered at the other end only to see Lukasz Kolenda drain a triple to trim the gap to 52-57. Ginat punched right back with a three-point play and a Cummings layin re-established a double-digit lead, 52-62, with 7 minutes left. Crocker added a triple and it was 54-67 with less than 6 minutes to play before a Michineau three-pointer had Metropolitans ahead 54-71 with 4 minutes to play. The game was decided by that point as the hosts could not find the offensive solutions.
First double-double for Hunter since November
Vince Hunter is one of Metropolitans’ biggest weapons and the big man produced another double-double for the French side. The 27-year-old had three straight double-doubles in Rounds 3 to 5 - including 21 points and 12 rebounds at Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar in Round 3 and 26 points and 14 rebounds in Round 5 at Hamburg. Hunter tallied double-figure scoring for the ninth straight game as he scored 10 points and he added 11 rebounds as well - the first time in double figures rebounding since the Hamburg game - which was also Metropolitans’ only other road victory this season.
Kanter solid in his return
Kerem Kanter played for the first time since Round 8 for Slask and the Turkish big man came up with solid production. He scored 9 points to go with 14 rebounds for a performance index rating of 14. Kanter, who is playing his second EuroCup season after 2019-20 with Joventut Badalona, has had some strong games this season. He scored 18 points with 6 rebounds in the game at Metropolitans in Round 2 and had double-doubles in Rounds 3 and 5 - including 17 points and 15 rebounds at Dolomiti Energia Trento. Kanter also poured in 21 points at Partizan NIS Belgrade in Round 7.
Telling numbers: Metropolitans defense too much
Metropolitans came into the game with a poor defense: ranked 15th in points allowed, 19th in two-point percentage allowed and 15th in three-point percentage allowed. But Slask’s offense was 19th in points and three-pointers and last in two-pointers coming into the game. And Metropolitans’ defense shined through as Slask scored just 59 points while hitting 40.0% on two-pointers and 15.8% on three-pointers. The defensive showing made up for Metropolitans’ offensive struggles as the French side made just 28.6% from long range and scored just 74 points - 9.7 below its average. But Metropolitans committed only 6 turnovers.
Tuesday, January 25, 2022