Monaco come from behind after second period to bamboozle opponents and return to 50%-win ratio

After trailing Châlons-Reims 38-36 at the halfway point, AS Monaco Basket delivered an outstanding second-half performance to seal an 83-59 win and restore their record of 50% victories so far in the Jeep Elite Pro A league. Elmedin Kikanović and Paul Lacombe were especially impressive as the home team outclassed their opponents after half time and climb to ninth in the division.

Monaco coach Saša Filipovski will have been pleased with the reaction to last week’s defeats against Red Star in the EuroCup and Gravelines-Dunkerque domestically. Having vanquished Ratiopharm Ulm 75-65 midweek, Monaco followed up on that good result with another home win against Châlons-Reims in the Jeep Elite league and leapfrog their opponents into ninth position.

Filipovski’s men just about edged a tense first quarter 22-20, but saw their attacks thwarted in the second quarter as Châlons-Reims opened up a 38-36 lead at the break. However, Filipovski’s words must have inspired the team in white as they demolished Châlons-Reims in the third period 21-5, giving them a comfortable 14-point cushion going into the last quarter. More good work saw them outscore their opponents 26-16, making for a final result of 83-59.

If the scoreline doesn’t quite tell the whole story of a fraught first half, the win is certainly no less than Monaco deserved. They converted more of their two-pointers (57.4% to 42.9%) and three-pointers (36.4% to 27.8%) than Châlons-Reims, while they were superior in both offensive and defensive rebounds (32 to 26 and 11 to 9, respectively) as well. Kikanović was the standout performer for the home team with 20 points on his own, though Lacombe’s contribution of 18 was not far behind.

As their second successive win in difficult conditions, the victory could very well mark something of a turnaround in AS Monaco Basket’s fortunes this season. They have an equal win-to-loss ratio in both the Jeep Elite league and the EuroCup so far, and will hope to kick on and put together a head of steam after the week’s encouraging results. Next up Monaco face Galatasaray Istanbul on Wednesday, before travelling to Elan Chalon next weekend.