Long abused, the Monaco players ended up having the last word on their floor at the Salle Gaston-Médecin against Bourg-en-Bresse in match 2 of the Betclic Elite semi-finals (105-99).
Monaco trembled but knew how to make the decision. After a first success in Bourg-en-Bresse on Monday, the public at the Salle Gaston-Médecin was able to rejoice. The “Roca Team”, driven by Mike James (19 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists) and Donatas Motiejunas (10 points), started strong to be seven points ahead after just under two minutes. But JL Bourg, without complexes against the third in the Euroleague, did not let the gap widen. Bryson Williams (4 points) helped his team equalize with just under four minutes left in the first quarter. The Burgiens, in the game of free throws and thanks to a last shot signed Hugo Benitez (6 points, 5 assists) sounded the Salle Gaston-Médecin by turning in the lead by four points after ten minutes. Elie Okobo (20 points, 10 assists) then Matthew Strazel (6 points) took their responsibilities at long distance to put their formation back in front of the scoreboard. But, after leading by six units just over five minutes from the break, Sasa Obradovic’s players were put in difficulty by the defense of Bourg-en-Bresse.
Bourg-en-Bresse made Monaco doubt
With only four points scored before returning to the locker room, the Monegasques opened the door and Frédéric Fauthoux’s proteges rushed in. Amida Brimah (16 points, 8 rebounds) then Maxime Courby (10 points) allowed their team to reach halftime with a six-point lead. From the start, it was a “Roca Team” at a completely different pace that returned to the floor. In the space of 73 seconds, the delay at the break was erased but it took two more minutes before a three-point shot from Alpha Diallo (16 points) allowed the number 1 seed of the play-offs to regain control. This time, despite their best efforts, the Burgians could not come within three points before the end of the third quarter. A gap pushed to five lengths at the buzzer thanks to Elie Okobo. On their way, the players of the Principality accelerated at the start of the fourth quarter under the impetus of Donta Hall (10 points), at the conclusion of two alley-oops.
The “Roca Team” wins by a small margin
Eight minutes from the buzzer, on a basket from Yakuba Ouattara (4 points), Monaco exceeded the ten-point lead for the first time in the match. But the reply from the JL Bourg was immediate. Isiaha Mike (7 points, 5 rebounds) and Jordan Floyd (20 points) led 11-4 to bring their team back to four points. The end of the match saw the two teams go blow for blow and the gap fell from eight to just two points adrift with just over two minutes to play. James Palmer Jr (21 points) kept the Bresse formation in the match at the start of the last 30 seconds on a long distance shot. But two free throws from Alpha Diallo then an interception from Elie Okobo allowing Mike James to throw John Brown III (10 points) to the basket put an end to the suspense. Monaco was not sovereign on its ground but won by six lengths (105-99). Before going to Bourg-en-Bresse this weekend, the Roca Team now leads two wins to nothing.