Monaco routs Rytas to stay in playoffs race
AS Monaco stayed alive in the race for the 7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinals with a dominant 86-61 home victory over Rytas Vilnius on Wednesday. Monaco used a historic first-half performance in snapping a two-game losing streak to improve to 2-2 in Group G. Norris Cole led five Monaco players in double figures with 17 points to go with 6 assists and 4 rebounds. Dee Bost added 16 points, Anthony Clemmons 13, Wilfried Yeguete 12 and Yakuba Ouattara 10 for the winners. Monaco took complete control of the game with a 36-5 run spanning the first two quarters and held Rytas to just 3 points – one more than the all-time EuroCup record for scoring futility – in the second. Rytas had a game it would like to forget in dropping to 2-2 in the group despite Eimantas Bendzius picking up 13 points. The blowout means Monaco holds the tie-breaker against Rytas, which won their Round 3 game by 5 points in Vilnius.
Monaco's backcourt started on fire as Cole and Bost both scored 5 points with a three-pointer each for a 13-2 early lead. Bendzius converted 3 free throws and Pako Cruz nailed a triple as Rytas tried to get close at 17-10. Monaco delivered another punch with a 15-2 run to finish the first quarter with 3 triples shared by Ouattara and Bost around a steal and dunk by Yeguete for a 32-12 advantage. Monaco's long-range barrage continued in the second quarter as Clemmons drained 2 triples and Ouattara knocked down another in a 16-2 run to open a 48-14 lead. Cameron Bairstow's free throw snapped a four-minute scoreless drought for Rytas, but the hosts didn't slow down. Cole adding a three-pointer and a jumper for a 53-15 margin at the break. Cruz started the second half with the first score for Rytas as the guests began producing regularly, with baskets by Arnas Butkevicius and Evaldas Kairys, to make it 56-21. Rytas could not come up with stops though as Clemmons drained another three, Yeguete had back-to-back layups and Bost hit from deep to make it 73-30. The gap was 75-35 after 30 minutes. Deividas Sirvydis hit a triple to start the fourth quarter for Rytas, which held Monaco scoreless for nearly 2 minutes. Sirvydis added 3 free throws at 78-44 but the result had long been decided. Dovis Bickauskis nailed 3 three-pointers down the stretch to make the final margin a bit more bearable for Rytas.
First half futility for Rytas
Rytas's 15 first-half points was its lowest total ever in a half. The EuroCup record for fewest points in a half is 13. The 38-point (53-15) half-time deficit was Rytas's worst by 15 points over its previous mark of 23 against Strasbourg in the 2006-07 season. Rytas also was close to the all-time record for the fewest points in any quarter; its 3 were one more than the record of 2.
Bendzius's three-pointer streak ends
Eimantas Bendzius went 0-of-4 on three-pointers – though he twice made three free throws after getting fouled taking a triple – to end his streak of 19 consecutive games making a shot from the arc.
Monaco nailed 12-of-25 three-pointers for 48.0% accuracy while winning the rebound battle 39-31 and committing just 9 turnovers.
Monaco will head on the road and face Galatasaray Doga Sigorta Istanbul on February 5 while Rytas will look to bounce back as it heads to Russia to play at UNICS Kazan on February 5.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020