Monaco overwhelms Lietkabelis on the road
AS Monaco moved closer to clinching third place in Group C with a blowout 64-88 victory over host Lietkabelis Panevezys in their rescheduled Round 7 game on Friday. Monaco, which had previously qualified to the Top 16, upped its record to 5-4. Already-eliminated Lietkabelis ended its 7DAYS EuroCup season with a 2-8 record. Abdoulaye N'Doye led the winners with 14 points while going 4-for-4 on two-pointers and 2-for-2 on threes. Four of his teammates -- Damien Inglis, Marcos Knight, Darral Willis and Nikola Rebic -- scored 11 points each, and Wilfried Yeguete added 10. For Lietkabelis, Paulius Valinskas hit 3 of 4 triples on his way to 17 points, while Kyle Vinales and Margiris Normantas added 11 each.
Willis had a layup and a put-back for Monaco but Vinales and Valinskas drilled triples as Lietkabelis went up 8-4. Knight and Yeguete tied before Rebic put Monaco in front 8-10. Valinskas flipped the lead at 15-14 with another three-pointer, but Yohan Choupas took it back for Monaco, which held a 15-21 lead after 10 minutes. Paulius Poska's 5 points soon cut the difference to 20-23 but Inglis, with 7 quick points, widened the lead to 22-33. Normantas scored 5 of his own as Lietkabelis drew within 31-35 before Rebic and N'Doye hit triples for a 33-42 halftime score. N'Doye and Knight kept getting to the rim as the lead climbed to 34-49. Normantas answered from the arc, but the hosts could not handle Monaco inside, as the visitors quickly soared to a 37-59 advantage that Mathias Lessort and Inglis helped boost to 42-69 after 30 minutes. After that, Lietkabelis continued picking its spots while Monaco scored at will inside, although the hosts kept working to keep it from getting worse than the high of 42-74 early in the fourth quarter.
Among many Monaco players who shined, Damien Ingles did it at both ends, with 11 points on 5-for-5 two-point shooting plus 8 rebounds, 4 assists and a block for a PIR of 22.
From 31-35 late in the second quarter to 42-69 at the end of three, Monaco did everything needed to win the game, using a 6-33 run to make the trip to Lithuania not only worthwhile, but no sweat, either.
Race for third place
With the victory, Monaco now has two ways to lock up third place in Group C. First, Monaco is third if MoraBanc Andorra (3-5) loses to unbeaten Virtus Segafredo Bologna on December 22. If that doesn't happen, when it hosts Andorra on December 29, a win or a loss of 5 points or less will be enough for Monaco.
Record night for Monaco
Monaco's inside dominance led to a pair of club highs for its three EuroCup seasons to date. Its 32 two-pointers made were 4 better than its previous best of 28 on two other occasions. Its 69.6% accuracy on those two-pointers shattered its previous best, 65.1% on January 3, 2019, against ALBA Berlin.
Lietkabelis saw its EuroCup season come to close, while Monaco still plays Andorra on December 29 in their rescheduled Round 6 game before both teams head onto the Top 16, which starts on January 13, 2021.
Friday, December 18, 2020