In their third outing in the EuroCup Top 16, the Roca boys did not disappoint. Playing away against Partizan in Belgrade, the team came away with a clutch victory, securing a solid position moving ahead in the tournament.
With only 38 points allowed after three quarters, Monaco appeared to have everything squared away. Controlling both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor, the Roca Team looked like a lock for the win against Partizan. The fourth quarter, however, proved another story as the home team bullied themselves back into the game with a 30 point onslaught. Fortunately, Derek Needham scored two pivotal 3-pointers to give the Principality’s team just enough cushion to finish the game ahead (68-72).
Partizan’s young Slovenian guard Aleksej Nikolić had a fiery end of the match with a good amount of help from Jock Landale. Across the court, Jarrod Jones held solid, finishing with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting alongside 11 rebounds. This help to offset the rare lack of influence from big man Elmedin Kikanovic non-match (9 points on 4-of-11 shooting and 4 rebounds through 23 minutes). Recent recruit Eric Buckner was also off to a slow start but contributed a useful all-around performance over the course of his time on the floor (11 points on 4-of-4 shooting, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks over 22 minutes).
Despite this somewhat curious game, much in the image of their season, the Monegasques registered their second win in three games in the Top 16. This puts them in a good position for the quarter-finals as they can look forward to two home games in their next three Top 16 matchups.
Coach Sasa Filipovski had this to say after the match: “We played three very good quarters, and of course in the last quarter, we lost energy, concentration, defense, and we allowed 30 points. Partizan is a very young and very talented team, I think they have a great coach, I respect him a lot and they will improve a lot.”
Jarrod Jones followed his coach’s comments with his own: “It was an important game for us here on the road, we lost the first one in Berlin and we knew that to be ambitious in this Top 16 we had to get a win on the road. The arena was full tonight… We couldn’t let Partizan go ahead early, otherwise, their fans would have given them an extra boost. That’s why we had to be aggressive from the start, play our style of basketball, and not let them get their counterattack game going.”
The Roca Team will return to action on January 19th at 8 pm, playing away at Le Chaudron against Le Portel in Jeep Elite Action