Monaco beats Rishon, punches Top 16 ticket
AS Monaco clinched its spot in the Top 16 by edging Maccabi Rishon LeZion 77-75 at home in Group A on Wednesday. Monaco improved to 5-3 in the standings while Rishon dropped to 1-7 and was mathematically eliminated from the Top 16 race. Paul Lacombe led the winners with 19 points, Norris Cole added 18, Eric Buckner had 16 and Yak Ouattara 13 for Monaco. Jordan Swing paced Rishon with 19 points, Johnathan Williams added 15 points and 11 rebounds, Alex Hamilton scored 14 and Frederic Bourdillon 11 for the visitors. Anthony Clemmons and Buckner helped Monaco to a 9-2 lead, but Williams and Bourdillon stepped up to put Rishon in charge, 15-19, after 10 minutes. A 9-0 run that Dee Bost capped with consecutive driving layups allowed Monaco to get a 40-33 lead at halftime. Bourdillon and Swing rallied Rishon to 53-55 margin late in the third quarter. Monaco took a 6-point lead early in the fourth, but Swing and Hamilton brought Rishon within 76-75 with 5 seconds left. Ouattara split free throws and Swing committed a fatal turnover in the final seconds.
Clemmons got Monaco going with a three-pointer and Buckner scored twice around the basket for an early 9-2 lead. Williams tried to change things with a put-back slam and Bourdillon added a corner triple to bring Rishon within 11-7. Williams scored down low and Hamilton added a driving layup in a 0-6 run that Adam Ariel capped with a jumper for an 11-13 Rishon lead. Lacombe hit a catch-and-shoot floater, but Bourdillon and Williams fueled another 0-6 run which helped the visitors to a 15-19 lead after 10 minutes. Buckner and Oz Blayzer traded layups early in the second quarter. Lacombe hit a jumper that made it 19-21. Hamilton scored again and got help from Swing to keep Rishon ahead, 25-28. Ouattara struck from downtown and Cole added a jumper that put Monaco in charge, 31-30. Hamilton kept pushing Rishon, but a jumper by Lacombe and a three-pointer by a red-hot Ouattara gave the hosts a 36-33 edge. Bost scored twice in penetration to fix the halftime score at 40-33.
Swing and Ariel each hit one from beyond the arc soon after the break. Buckner took over with a finger-roll layup and Lacombe scored in penetration to boost Monaco's lead to 44-39. Williams rescued Rishon with a one-handed slam and a jump hook, then Swing added a layup but Buckner and Lacombe kept Monaco in charge, 49-45. Bourdillon followed a triple with a layup-plus-foul to put Rishon in the lead, 49-51. Lacombe tried to change things for Monaco, but Swing and Blayzer kept the visitors ahead, 53-55. Cole followed a driving layup with a three-pointer and Ouattara beat the third-quarter buzzer with a layup that tied it at 60-60 after 30 minutes. Cole and Lacombe fueled a 6-0 run that Buckner capped with a layup for a 66-60 Monaco lead. Hamilton scored around the basket and Ariel hit a triple, but Norris singlehandedly kept the hosts in charge, 70-65. Williams dunked twice, getting help from Nimrod Tishman before Monaco called timeout at 73-71 with over 3 minutes left. Buckner split foul shots and Ouattara added a backdoor layup, but Hamilton brought Rishon within 76-73. Swing scored in penetration to make it a one-point game with 5 seconds left. Ouattara drew a foul with 3.6 seconds left but only hit his first attempt, however, Swing turned the ball over in the final seconds.
Paul Lacombe stayed on the floor more than any other Monaco player and had a decisive contribution. He finished the game with 19 points on 6-of-9 two-point shooting and 7-of-8 free throws plus 4 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and 3 fouls drawn for a PIR of 21.
It all came down to the final 5 seconds, in which a driving layup by Jordan Swing brought Rishon within 76-75. Monaco called a timeout and Ouattara drew a foul with 3.6 seconds left. He split attempts, but Monaco's defense forced Swing to turn the ball over, sealing the outcome.
Monaco outrebounded Rishon 40-29 in this game, which made the difference. The hosts pulled down 16 offensive boards, the second-best mark for the team in EuroCup history; it had 17 offensive rebounds against Segafredo Virtus Bologna earlier this season, on October 30.
Did you notice?
After hitting 7 of 8 two-point shots, Buckner had made 35 of his 41 two-point shots inside the arc. His current 85.4% would tie an all-time EuroCup record. The best two-point shooting percentage in EuroCup history belongs to Primoz Brezec of Krasnye Krylia, who scored 47 of 55 two-point shots (85.45%) in the 2010-11 season.
Both teams return to 7DAYS EuroCup action on Wednesday, December 11. Monaco visits already-eliminated ratiopharm Ulm. Rishon also plays on the road against MoraBanc Andorra.
Wednesday, November 20, 2019