Monaco captures Group E's first road win
AS Monaco captured the first road win in Group E of the Top 16 by holding off Partizan NIS Belgrade 68-72 on Tuesday evening at Aleksandar Nikolic Hall in the Serbian capital. Monaco led by as many as 21 before a late Partizan rally, but held on thanks to some clutch shots from Derek Needham to improve to 2-1. Partizan slipped to 1-2. Jarrod Jones paced the winners with 16 points and 11 rebounds, Paul Lacombe netted 12 points, Eric Buckner posted 11 points on near-perfect shooting, 7 boards and 2 blocks and Needham finished with 10 points and 6 assists. Aleksej Nikolic led Partizan with 16 points and 5 assists, Jock Landale tallied 14 points and 7 rebounds and Nikola Jankovic scored 12 in defeat.
Partizan started slowly as it missed its first 6 shots, but only trailed by 4 before riding Nikola Jankovic back into the game. Threes by Jarrod Jones and Lacombe helped Monaco jump ahead 8-12. Sergii Gladyr came off the bench and upped the Monaco advantage to 10-19 with a three-pointer before Marcus Paige revived the hosts with a triple. Gerald Robinson's scoop shot on the first-quarter buzzer made it 13-21 after 10 minutes. The visitors were held scoreless for the first three minutes of the second quarter, but soon big men Buckner and Elmedin Kikanovic pieced together a 0-7 run for the game's first double-digit margin, 17-28. Despite the best efforts of Nikola Jankovic, the lead grew to 14 on a three-point play from Lacombe. Jarod Jones's three on the halftime buzzer made it 26-40 at the break. Both teams came out cold for the second half with just one basket going down on each side over the first five minutes. After Jarrod Jones nailed his third three of the night to make it 28-45, Partizan called timeout. Little changed and Gladyr made it a 20-point game with a three-pointer. The lead reached 21 before Nikolic led some Partizan resistance to trim the gap to 38-54 at the end of the third quarter. Bandja Sy added a three to start the fourth and soon Landale hit another to draw Partizan within 46-56 with 7 minutes to play. Nikolic added a floater-and-one as Partizan rallied closer and Sy nailed a triple to make it 64-69 with 2 minutes remaining. Partizan missed twice before turning the ball over on its next possession and Needham responded with a clutch three for the visitors, who were able to hold on.
Eric Buckner was a difference maker in many ways at both ends of the floor for Monaco. The center, who started the season with French-League rival LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, did not miss a shot with his points all coming from the pick-and-roll, alley-oops or put-back dunks. He also rejected a pair of shots and intimidated potential Partizan scorers on several others.
Monaco's defensive excelence
Monaco did not allow Partizan more than 13 points in any of the first three quarters in building a lead Partizan could not overcome. The hosts were held to 4-for-22 three-point shooting (18.2%) and were outrebounded 26-35 in the first 30 minutes. Partizan heated up from the outside and collected 8 offensive rebounds in the fourth to mount a comeback, but Monaco's big lead proved to be too much.
Did you notice?
Monaco scored buzzer-beaters that were reviewed by the umpires after both the first and second quarters. The former was a scoop shot by Gerald Robinson and the latter a three-pointer by Jarrod Jones. Those 5 points scored on the buzzer proved to be the difference in Monaco's 4-point win.
These teams meet again in Round 4 with Monaco hosting the game on Tuesday, January 22.
Tuesday, January 15, 2019