Baskonia beats Monaco 78-76 to extend win steak
Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz used a big third-quarter run to defeat visiting AS Monaco 78-66 on Friday night at Buesa Arena. Its third straight win took Baskonia's record to 3-2, while Monaco lost its third consecutively and dropped to 2-3. The two teams traded blown until early in the third quarter when Baskonia put together a 20-2 burst, turning a close game into a comfortable advantage that the hosts never relinquished. Simone Fontecchio paced the winners with 20 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Landry Nnoko collected 14 points and 7 rebounds, while Jayson Granger had 12 points and 6 assists. Steven Enoch scored 12, and Rokas Giedraitis 10 points, while Tadas Sedekerskis pulled down 11 rebounds. Mike James finished with 18 points for Monaco and Danilo Andjusic netted 15 points. Jerry Boutsiele combined 11 points with 10 rebounds while Donatas Motiejunas scored 10 in defeat.
Yakuba Ouattara opened the visitors' tally with a three-point play and Motiejunas scored twice from close range. Fontecchio and Granger each scored twice for the hosts before a pair of layups and a put-back dunk from Nnoko made it 14-11. James had a layup-plus-free throw combo but Fontecchio answered with a three-pointer before Enoch and Boutsiele traded baskets inside, making it 21-20 after 10 minutes. A pair of baskets from Wade Baldwin IV, including a huge put-back dunk, and a three-pointer from Fontecchio opened a 28-21 Baskonia lead early in the second. Andjusic hit a corner three at the other end, but both teams were far more efficient inside. Motiejunas scored twice for Monaco while Enoch strung together 6 points for the hosts, including back-to-back jumpers to make it 34-28. A transition triple by James got Monaco within 34-33, but the hosts took a 38-35 advantage into halftime.
Andjusic's triple tied it up, 40-40, early in the third quarter, but that's when Baskonia replied with a 13-0 run. Granger opened it with a three-pointer and Giedraitis capped with a long-range dagger, giving Baskonia its first double-digit lead of the night. Andjusic's jumper snapped the run, but fastbreak layups from Arturs Kurucs and Baldwin extended the difference to 60-42. After layups by Ouattara and Boutsiele, the hosts took a 14-point lead into the fourth quarter, which Boutsiele opened with a three-point play before James and Andjusic combined for 9 points to get Monaco as close as 66-60. However, Nnoko answered with a three-point play and Giedraitis drove for a reverse dunk, restoring a double-digit lead as Baskonia cruised in the final minutes.
Key stat: Baskonia's best two-point night this season
To find reasons for Baskonia's win over Monaco, there is no need to look further than the two-point shooting percentages of the two teams. Baskonia scored 27-of-42 shots, good for 65.8%. Both are the club's highest marks so far this season, and those 27 two-pointers made tying the club's second-best total in more than two years.
Monaco shot 23-for-45 inside the arc, good for 51.1%, but that number was just 17-for-36 (47.2%) through three quarters. At that point, Baskonia was already holding a comfortable double-digit lead and Monaco used the fourth quarter to improve its numbers. Monaco's struggles were even worse from behind the arc, where the team was just 3-for-26 (11.5%). Baskonia was not much better in that department, making 4-for-20 (20.0%), but it made the needed difference closer to the basket.
Pivotal performers: Fontecchio, Sedeskersis set the tone for Baskonia
Baskonia forward Simone Fontecchio shined on Friday night. He not only led all scorers with 20 points, but he missed only one shot all night. He scored 6 of his 7 two-pointers while downing both three-point and free throw attempts he took. He was a big factor on the glass with 7 rebounds and also dished 4 assists. His fellow forward, Tadas Sedekerskis, scored only 2 points, but pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds, shattering his previous best of 7. The two men combined for 18 defensive rebounds, while the entire visiting Monaco squad had 19 for the game.
Baskonia and Monaco reverse rebounding trends
Going into the game, Baskonia and Monaco had collected more rebounds than any other Euroleague teams this season. Baskonia topped the charts in offensive rebounds, averaging 13.8, Monaco was the best defensive rebounding side with 28.5 per game. In this game, however, they reversed their rebounding specialties. Monaco finished with 18 offensive boards, one fewer than this season's high among all EuroLeague teams. However, those were not enough to win, partly because Baskonia pulled down enough of the visitors' missed shots. Baskonia finished with 30 defensive rebounds, its best such number this season.
Friday, October 22, 2021