European basketball excellence will be on display tonight at the Gaston-Médecin arena in Monaco. The Roca Boys will take on Turkish side Galatasaray, winner of the 2016 EuroCup, who will come in with hopes of getting revenge for their last encounter in Istanbul (Monaco 86 – Galatasaray 85).

Tip-off this Wednesday, December 12 at 7:45 pm.

The context

While Monaco has struggled in Jeep Elite play (currently 12th place on 5 wins, 7 losses), the squad has excelled in EuroCup competition. Having already qualified for the Top 16, Monaco will take on Galatasaray with the aim of securing first-place in Group A. Monaco has already registered 6 wins against 2 losses in European play. If the Roca Team wins and Andorra loses, ASM is guaranteed a first-place finish. Monaco has a record of 2-2 (wins, losses) at home, while Galatasaray is looking for their first road win, after two losses in overtime and two by more than 20 points.

Earlier this season

In the first head-to-head, Monaco’s Lazeric Jones scored the clinching basket for the Roca Team with just 3.6 seconds left on the clock. Jones maneuvered through traffic and scored off the glass to put the visitors up 86-85. Derek Needham was the match’s leading scorer with 29 pts. Yakuba Ouattara also registered 24 points as did Aaron Harrison.

Big duels

Monaco lacks size in the paint, which will certainly pose problems against Galatasaray who is the competition’s best rebounding side (37+ rebounds per match.  Monaco will rely on Ian Hummer and Jarrod Jones’ athleticism to make up for their lack in this department. Elmedin “Kika” Kikanovic has also proved an essential figure for the Roca Team, with consistent, excellent performances throughout the season.  Hummer and Jones will aim to support him and limit the activity of Nigel Hayes (14 points, 4.5 rebounds).

Keys to victory for ASM

With the pressure of the qualifying less and the ticket for the Top 16 in hand, Monaco will have to make sure to approach the meeting with concentration, because Galatasaray, for its part, will play big. In addition, for having lost twice at home (Etoile Rouge and Brescia), coach Filipovski will want to see his team as powerful in front of his supporters as it is not on the move.

Pre-match comments

Sasa Filipovski, coach of AS Monaco has this to say pre-match: “Galatasaray is a team full of talent, their coach has worked for many years with promising young people, they play with great energy, they are fast in transition and use different kinds of picks. They can change defensive schemes and also play small ball to speed the game up. We will have to defend and attack as a team to come away with the win.”