Buducnost edges Monaco to steal home-court advantage
Justin Cobbs buried the go-ahead jumper with 2.4 seconds remaining as Buducnost VOLI Podgorica edged AS Monaco 76-77 to steal Game 1 of their best-of-three 7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinals Series on Tuesday night at Stade Louis II. Buducnost became just the second road team to win a series opener since the current format was adopted for the quarterfinals in 2017. The Montenegrin powerhouse will look to sweep the series and advance to the semifinals for the first time when it "hosts" Game 2 on Friday in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Willie Reed led the winners with a career-high 24 points plus 13 rebounds and Cobbs finished with 21 points. Rob Gray paced Monaco with 18 points and Dee Bost and Mathias Lessort added 13 apiece. Lessort had a shot at the buzzer to win it, but it bounced out.
Both teams had the jitters at the start with the first four possessions resulting in turnovers before Damien Inglis broke the jinx with a fastbreak slam for Monaco. Second-chance baskets by Reed and Melvin Ejim kept Buducnost close, but the game's first three-pointer came from Bost to give Monaco a 9-6 edge after 5 minutes. Marcos Knight added another Monaco triple and Bost hit a second one from deep to make it 15-8. A Cobbs three trimmed the deficit, but Gray scored the last 5 points of the quarter to give Monaco a 22-13 lead after 10 minutes. A three by teenager Rudy Demahis gave Monaco a double-digit lead, 25-14, early in the second quarter. Amedeo Della Valle scored twice in a 0-6 Buducnost spurt to more than halve the margin. Abdoulaye Ndoye heated up to keep Monaco in control. Soon, Reed took charge in the paint and a three by Della Valle made it 32-31, prompting a Monaco timeout. Cobbs completed the comeback with a jumper to tie the game at 36-36. Lessort restored the Monaco lead with a jumper and the first half finished with the hosts ahead 38-37.
Ejim scored on Buducnost's first two possessions of the second half to give the visitors their first lead. Ndoye quickly tied it and the score was 43-43 after Cobbs and Bost traded threes. Bost's free throws made it 47-45 midway through the third quarter. Zoran Nikolic's put-back pushed Buducnost in front again, but back-to-back threes by Gray gave Monaco control, 54-51, at the end of the third quarter. The teams traded baskets early in the fourth with Gray and Cobbs leading their respective teams. Danilo Nikolic scored inside to give Buducnost a 62-63 edge, but Gray responded from deep on the next play. Reed dunked to tie the game at 67-67 with 4 minutes remaining. J.J. O'Brien and Lessort scored on Monaco's next two possessions and Ivanovic fouled out with 3 minutes to play. A put-back slam by Lessort made it 74-68 with just over 2 minutes to go. Buducnost refused to go away as a slam by Reed and a three by Cobbs closed the gap to 74-73 with 55 seconds left. O'Brien responded for Monaco, however, Reed attacked the basket for a score-plus-foul with 33.3 seconds on the clock. He missed the free throw to tie the game, but the defense stopped Bost and Buducnost got the ball for a final possession. Cobbs buried the go-ahead jumper with 2.4 seconds left and, after a timeout, Lessort missed a hook shot on the buzzer.
Willier Reed played his best basketball under the bright lights of the playoffs to amass 24 points, 13 rebounds and a performance index rating of 35, which were all personal bests. He scored 10 points in the fourth quarter alone to keep Buducnost close and allow Cobbs a shot to win it late.
Buducnost dominated the rebounds 31-41, including 14 offensive boards. The visitors turned those into 18 second-chance points, which helped make up for the team's 16 turnovers and poor foul shooting (13 for 21, 61.9%).
Did you know?
This game was the first-ever meeting between the sides, however, Buducnost has plenty of experience playing against a team from the French League. Buducnost won its third straight road game against a French League team this season after defeating Boulogne Metropolitans 92 and in the regular season and JL Bourg en Bresse in the Top 16.
Game 2 of the series will take place on Friday, March 26, at Arena Stozice in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Buducnost is unable to host the game in Podgorica due to COVID-19 restrictions. A Buducnost win sends it to the EuroCup Semifinals for the first time in club history. A Monaco victory brings the series back to the Principality for Game 3.
Tuesday, March 23, 2021