Metropolitans overpower short-handed Mornar
Boulogne Metropolitans 92 scored its second straight win in Group B of the 7DAYS EuroCup by shaking off short-handed Mornar Bar 78-65 on Tuesday. The hosts led from start to finish in taking their record to 2-2 while dropping Mornar to the same. Rob Gray amassed 16 points and Vitalis Chikoko added 14 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks to lift Metropolitans. Anthony Brown contributed 11 points and 6 assists and Tomer Ginat scored 10 for the winners. Jacob Pullen led the Mornar attack with 22 points, Isaiah Whitehead scored 18, Taylor Smith posted 11 points and 8 rebounds and Kenny Gabriel had 10 and 12 for Mornar, which was without starting guards Derek Needham and Nemanja Vranes.
Ginat and Anthony Brown made big early impacts as they combined for 9 points in Metropolitans' 11-2 start. Debutant Neal Sako also made his presence felt inside for the hosts. Gabriel tried to ignite the visitors with a three from the top of the key and he later added free throws to trim the deficit to 15-10 after 10 minutes. A pair of threes by Whitehead and another by Pullen helped Mornar get within 26-23. Chikoko scored inside and David Michineau added a three-point play as the hosts padded their lead. A three on the halftime buzzer by Jacob Pullen made it 39-33.
Chikoko opened the second half with a slam followed by free throws to establish the game's first double-digit lead. Roos added a triple to make it 46-33. The lead reached 15 before the Mornar guards combined for 7 points in a 0-11 run that brought Mornar to 50-46. Sako dunked for his first EuroCup points, which also revived the hosts. Pullen's fourth three of the night made it 54-51, but a reverse layup by Ginat ended the third quarter at 59-54. The big man scored the first basket of the fourth quarter. Soon a pair of threes by Gray fueled a 10-2 spurt to start the quarter for a 69-56 advantage with 7 minutes remaining. Mornar continued to push, but could not muster the momentum for another comeback and Metropolitans nursed its lead till the final buzzer.
Game changing run
Mornar trailed by as many as 15 in the third quarter before Jacob Pullen and Isaiah Whitehead fueled a comeback to within 3. Just when it looked like the fourth quarter would be a close one, Tomer Ginat scored a reverse layup to finish the third quarter and attacked the basket for the first score of the fourth. Then Rob Gray added a pair of threes in what became a 12-2 run and that the visitors never recovered from.
Metropolitans secured the victory in part thanks to their dominance on the boards and 15 steals. The home side controlled the glass 43-35, including 15 offensive rebounds which they turned into 11 second-chance points. Mornar had 7 offensive rebounds and got only 6 second-chance points. The 15 steals were the second-most in club history, as were Mornar's 20 turnovers, from which Metropolitans scored 30 points.
A promising debut
Neal Sako made his EuroCup for Metropolitans as the starting center and made his presence felt. A product of the Metropolitans' youth setup, Sako blocked a shot and affected a few others in the opening minutes as his team took control. He scored his first points with a dunk in the third to end a Mornar run. Sako finished with 4 points, 3 rebounds and 1 block in 13 minutes.
Mornar Bar returns home for Round 5 in which it will host its Montenegrin archrival Buducnost VOLI Podgorica on Wednesday, October 28. Metropolitans will visit Germani Brescia in Italy that same evening.
Tuesday, October 20, 2020