After a rather sinusoidal couple of weeks with excellent EuroCup results followed by frustration in the Jeep Elite, Monaco turned the tides in this latter competition with a great win against Dijon. If they can reproduce this kind of result, qualification for the Leaders Cup will remain within reach.
89-71. An emphatic scoreline for a Monegasque side that has been somewhat two-faced this season. Three consecutive Jeep Elite losses paired with dominant performances that lifted them to win Group A in this season’s EuroCup competition. They are practically two different teams. Coming into the match against Dijon, the Roca Team was 13th on the league table. For the first time in a while, the team benefitted from a 9 player rotation, which gave the starters a little more flexibility. Pressing harder on defense and controlling the pace of the game were key factors in Monaco’s win against Dijon.
Impressions from the floor
Even with the late start due to a suspect package alerted at the arena, Monaco came in focused and did not relent. The home team already led by 12-points at halftime and showed no signs of slowing down. Special energy was brought to the floor by Sergii “the Gladyator” Gladyr, who recently rejoined the team after a 6-month absence.
Dijon came out of the locker room looking motivated, going on an 11-2 run in the third quarter, but Monaco’s leaders Paul Lacombe (17, points, 6 rebounds) and Derek Needham took back control. They guided the Roca boys to a comfortable 10-point lead, which they did not give up. Dijon’s was the best defense in the league coming into the game, but could not keep up with Monaco’s pace, letting 89 points on the night.
Filipovski’s notes after the match
Now 12th in the standings, Sasa Filipovski’s squad can still qualify for the Leaders Cup. To do so, they will have to reproduce this kind of performance. Even if qualification remains a possibility for the triple title holder, it remains a challenge as recognized by the Slovenian coach: “Every game is a stage and we will play step by step. We remain positive, even if that’s not always easy. But our mentality is good. I congratulate my players who played a good match against a solid team from Dijon, who plays with a lot of heart. We defended well and showed good management in the attack. The fans gave us a lot of help too.”