Monaco edges Andorra at home
In a postponed game from Round 6, AS Monaco took the battle of microstates in Group C by downing MoraBanc Andorra 66-64 at Stade Louis II on Tuesday. Monaco finished the 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season with a 6-4 record, while Andorra slumped to its fourth consecutive loss and for a 3-7 record. Monaco and Andorra had clinched third and fourth place, respectively, before this showdown, and had therefore qualified for the Top 16. Marcos Knight led the winners with 16 points, Yohan Choupas added 12 and Darral Willis had 11 for Monaco. Bandja Sy paced Andorra with 11 points. Monaco led 16-12 and extended its margin to 30-25 at halftime. Sy and David Jelinek helped Andorra to a 40-43 edge at the end of the third quarter, but Dee Bost and Willis took care of business in crunch time. Andorra had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but Jeremy Senglin missed a 10-meter shot at the buzzer.
Bost got Monaco going with a three-pointer and Damien Inglis added a reverse layup, but Sy kept Andorra close at 5-4. Clevin Hannah improved on Wilfried Yeguete's dunk with a triple. Knight answered from downtown before Yeguete and Willis each added a layup for a 14-9 Monaco lead. Mathias Lessort stepped up with a tip-in, but Jelinek and Oriol Pauli kept the guests within 16-12 after 10 minutes. Choupas buried back-to-back jumpers early in the second quarter. Hannah rescued Andorra and Sy hit a triple for a 20-19 deficit. Choupas kept pushing the hosts, getting help from Abdoulaye Ndoye to restore a 30-22 Monaco margin, which Tomasz Gielo cut to 30-25 with a three-pointer late in the first half.
Haukur Palsson hit a jumper soon after the break, igniting a 0-7 run which Pauli capped with a three-pointer for a 32-32 tie. Knight and Choupas each struck from beyond the arc, but Sy and Senglin stepped up for Andorra and Jelinek added an acrobatic three-point play for a 40-41 lead, which Sy extended to 40-43 after 30 minutes. Yeguete hit a floater in the lane early in the fourth quarter and Knight added a three-point play for a 46-45 Monaco lead. Babatunde Olumuyiwa dunked, but Knight had a couple of driving layups in a 6-0 run that gave the hosts a 52-47 lead. After Palsson and Gielo each nailed a triple, Willis and Lessort scored to keep Monaco in charge, 56-53. Sy dunked again and Nacho Llovet added a layup, but Bost and JJ O'Brien restored a 62-57 Monaco edge with less than 2 minutes left. Llovet scored again only to see Bost split free throws. Willis seemed to seal the outcome with an alley-oop layup, but Pauli and Gielo gave Andorra hope with 8.5 seconds left. Lessort split free throw attempts and Senglin missed from deep at the buzzer.
Monaco head coach Zvezdan Mitrovic gave some of his team's young players extended playing time and Yohan Choupas made the most of that. He finished the game with 12 points on 2-of-2 two-point shooting, 2-of-3 on three-pointers and 2-of-2 free throws plus 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals for a PIR of 18. He totaled 13 points and a PIR of 2 before that this season.
Nacho Llovet scored down low to bring Andorra within 58-57 with less than 3 minutes remaining. JJ O'Brien scored around the basket and Dee Bost added a big basket off a spin move that gave Monaco full control of the game, 62-57, in crunch time.
Monaco shot the ball a bit better inside the arc in a game that came down to details. The hosts sank 19 of 37 two-point shots (51.4%) and limited Andorra to 15-of-34 shooting inside the arc (44.1%).
Did you know?
Andorra is the second team in competition history to go past the regular season with a 3-7 record - 30% winning percentage. The first to do so was Buducnost VOLI Podgorica in the 2014-15 campaign. Buducnost did not survive the Last 32, that season's second group stage.
Both teams return to EuroCup action at the start of the Top 16, on January 12-13, 2021. Monaco is set to register Rob Gray, who was not eligible to play until now, as he had played for another EuroCup team, Boulougne Metropolitans 92, during the regular season.
Tuesday, December 29, 2020