Monaco wins in Belgrade, is first in Group A
AS Monaco claimed sole possession of first place in 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season Group A by topping Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 75-91 in the Serbian capital on Wednesday. Monaco improved to 5-2 in the standings, while Zvezda dropped to 4-3. Derek Needham led the winners with 21 points, Elmedin Kikanovic added 17 and Paul Lacombe and Yakuba Ouattara each had 16 for Monaco. Billy Baron had 14 points for Zvezda and Joe Ragland added 12.
Baron shined early and a dunk by Mouhammad Faye gave Zvezda a 9-6 lead. Kikanovic and Paul Lacombe tried to change things for Monaco, but Maik Zirbes and Branko Lazic kept the hosts in charge, 14-10. Needham and Gerald Robinson each hit a three-pointer in an 0-8 run that caused Zvezda to call timeout at 14-18. Baron, Ognjen Dobric and Ragland struck from downtown as the hosts regained the lead, 27-25, but Remi Barri and Ouattara helped Monaco tie the game at 29-29 after 10 minutes. Michael Ojo took over early in the second quarter and a 6-0 run that Stratos Perperoglou capped with a layup gave Zvezda a 39-33 lead. Ouattara had 5 points in a 0-9 run, but Zirbes and Faye gave the hosts a 45-44 edge at halftime. Monaco improved its defense after the break, while Ouattara, Lacombe and an unstoppable Kikakovic fueled a 2-16 run that made it a double-digit difference, 49-60. Filip Covic and Needham traded triples and a jumper by Kikanovic prompted Zvezda to call timeout at 52-65. Lacombe kept pacing the guests and Needham sank another one from beyond the arc to make it a 20-point game. Dejan Davidovac and Borisa Simanic cut Zvezda's deficit to 62-76 after 30 minutes. Monaco used longer possessions to run the game clock down and free throws by Jarrod Jones sealed the outcome with time to spare.
Lacombe did a little bit of everything to make sure Monaco cruised to yet another road win. he finished the game with 16 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals and 4 fouls drawn for a performance index rating of 22.
Monaco improved its defense early in the second half, forcing Zvezda into 6 turnovers in seven minutes. Meanwhile, Lacombe, Kikanovic and Needham took care of business on offense in a 7-30 run that gave the visitors the lead for good, 54-74.
Monaco forced Zvezda into 20 turnovers in this game and only had 8 alongside 13 steals. Those 12 extra possessions were a big factor in this game. Monaco was much more effective from downtown, hitting 9 of 19 three-point shots (47.4%) and limiting Zvezda to 8 of 27 (29.6%).
Did you notice?
Kikanovic played against his former team and left no prisoners. In his return to Belgrade, he finished the game with 17 points on 7-of-13 two-point shooting, 3 rebounds and 6 fouls drawn for a PIR of 18.
Both teams return to 7DAYS EuroCup action on Tuesday, November 20 - Monaco hosts ratiopharm Ulm and Zvezda visits Morabanc Andorra.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018