Though the AS Monaco Roca Team trailed for 38 minutes against Ulm, they pulled off a comeback in the final minutes, winning 84-81. The victory places them atop Group A and qualifies them mathematically for the Top 16.

Last night’s EuroCup basketball match pitted the AS Monaco Roca Team against German side Ratiopharm Ulm. The Roca Team was playing for a qualification into the tournament’s Top 16, while Ulm was playing to prolong their hopes of qualifying.

In order to win, the Monegasques turned to Elmedin Kikanovic and Yakuba Ouattara (22 points each). Ouattara shot 4-for-7 from three.  Paul Lacombe also contributed 21 points. Full stats here.

Winning through injury

Still without players Amara Sy, Gerald Robinson, and Lazeric Jones, Monaco struggled throughout the duration of the match. The Roca Team did, however, finish strong with a solid second-half performance from Yakuba Ouattara (22 points on the night, 20 after halftime, and a key basket from Ian Hummer with 2.8 seconds left on the clock. The basket came from a pivotal steal by Paul Lacombe. With this win, the Roca Team qualifies for the EuroCup’s Top 16 round with two games left in group play.

Though Monaco displayed some early sluggishness notably on the defensive end (46 points against in the first half), they were able to pick up the tempo as the game went on. As their defense improved, however, their offense declined (13 assists total, on 84 points). The breakthrough came from a Yakuba Ouattara three-pointer, which allowed the Roca Team to take their first lead. Ulm never gave up, going ahead on the scoresheet two more times, once with 7 seconds on the clock off of a shot by Javonte Green.

Monaco’s savior took the form of Paul Lacombe (21 points on 8/16 shooting, 6 rebounds, 3 assists). His last moment interception and feed to Hummer lead to the final, decisive basket. With this 6th victory in 8 matches, AS Monaco Basket has officially qualified for the EuroCup Top 16 with 2 games left in group play. Monaco will need all of its talent ready in order to compete at the next level, where all of the competition’s strongest teams remain.

Post-game impressions

Coach Sasa Filipovski had this to say after the match: “A sincere thank you to our public who showed tremendous support tonight. They are why we play basketball. We seem to have a penchant for the dramatic right now. Tonight, things went our way. I want to congratulate our players, this win is theirs. They worked very hard because it’s been very difficult to play with 8 actives for the last month. I’m very happy for them. In spite of the fatigue, they showed their intelligence.”

Next EuroCup action: Monaco will play Galatasaray Istanbul at home on December 12th.