Monaco sweeps Antwerp to stay perfect
AS Monaco disposed of Telenet Giants Antwerp 96-64 at the Stade Louis II on Wednesday to stay unbeaten together with Segafredo Virtus Bologna atop Group C. Antwerp remains winless and dropped to 0-3. The hosts trailed 18-23, but once Khadeen Carrington turned the lights on with 3 consecutive three-pointers at the end of the first quarter, Monaco found the way to slowly bring the visitors down and build a comfortable margin that grew to 30 points in the last quarter. Marcos Knight led the winners with 20 points, Dee Bost had 14 and 9 assists, while Darral Willis, Jaleel O’Brien, Mathias Lessort and Carrington scored 14, 13 and 11 respectively. Ibrahima Faye tallied 22 points and "Speedy" Smith added 15 in a losing effort.
Even though both teams traded baskets in the early going, it was Monaco who managed to build an early 14-8 advantage led by Lessort, Bost and Knight. Smith and Faye took over for the visitors and used the free-throw line to put Antwerp in front 18-23, but Monaco reacted immediately, as Carrington hit three times without a miss from downtown to allow Monaco to finish the first quarter ahead 30-27. Willis came up big in the second and punished Antwerp in the paint with 6 points that extended the lead to 38-30. Though the visitors tried to stop the bleeding with a timeout, Bost nailed a three and Willis added a layup to make it a double-digit margin, 43-30 midway through the second quarter. Smith and Faye, once again, came to the rescue to solve Antwerp’s struggles on offense, but no one else joined. Thanks to that, and to its increasing dominance under the boards, Monaco managed to keep a safe 51-41 edge at halftime.
Faye was unstoppable at both ends after the break, helping his team stay close, 53-47. It was Knight’s turn then as he replied with a layup and back-to-back pull-up jumpers to make it 61-49 in a blink of an eye. Things got even better for the hosts after Bost buried a long three and Knight had a powerful two-handed dunk to increase the margin to 68-51. Nothing seemed to work for the visitors, especially on offense. Antwerp was held scoreless for the next 5 minutes, allowing Monaco to enter the last quarter in control 73-51. The drought didn’t stop here as the hosts allowed only 2 points in the next 5 minutes and the difference continued to grow. J.J. O'Brien capped a 14-2 run with a two-pointer that made it 87-53 and removed all doubts about any potential comeback by Antwerp.
Six AS Monaco players scored in double digits, and each of them had a starring role in crucial moments. Carrington shined at the end of the first quarter, Willis led the way in the second, while Knight had 11 of his 20 points in the third.
The second half, once again
Antwerp lost all chances to win after halftime, just like it did in the previous two rounds. The Belgian team scored just 27 and 13 second-half points in Krasnodar and Andorra, respectively, and it had only 23 on this night, going from 55-49 to 83-53 between the third and the fourth quarters.
Numbers don’t lie
Monaco outrebounded Antwerp 42-29, grabbing almost as many offensive rebounds (17) as Antwerp did on defense (21). If you add that to the fact the hosts had just a couple of three-pointers in the entire game and that they came in the second quarter, you will have a good clue what happened.
Both teams will play on the road the same day next week. AS Monaco will visit Italy to face Virtus Segafredo Bologna on Wednesday, October 21, while Telenet Giants Antwerp will travel to Lithuania to challenge Lietkabelis Panevyzis.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020