Simone Fontecchio lifts Baskonia over Monaco

By Johnny Askounis/ [email protected]

Bitci Baskonia displayed more energy in defense to defeat AS Monaco, 78-66, at Fernando Buesa Arena on Friday evening.

BOXSCORE

While Wade Baldwin IV and Mike James were widely expected to heavily impact the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 5 contest, especially in offense, the honor went to Italian Simone Fontecchio. He did not miss one single shot until late in the fourth quarter on the way to a season-high 20 points.

“It feels good to get a home win, especially in front of this crowd. It was a very amazing atmosphere; it was fun,” he said on 7,423 attending fans, “We played a good game, staying focused for 40 minutes. We made a good run in the fourth quarter, and we were able to maintain the advantage even when they came back. It was a good job. It was difficult because when they came back, they are a good team, of course, and we struggled a little bit on offense. But we stayed locked in and got a win.”

Landry Nnoko followed with 14 points. Jayson Granger contributed 12 points behind 4/6 field goals and six assists as his side jumped to 3-2 with a third straight win in EuroLeague. Steven Enoch had eight points in the second quarter alone and 12 overall.

“I think we played good defense. We had aggressiveness on defense that we did not have in other games. And generally, we had patience on offense, looking for the better option,” summed up head coach Dusko Ivanovic, “Three minutes we did not play like that, and Monaco came back. But I think we finally played as we must play. Maybe this is our best performance in the EuroLeague this season. I think we played seriously, very seriously.”

“We are very happy with this win. We needed it. I think we did a great job, especially in the third quarter,” added Granger, “I think we came out pretty strong defensively, and I think it is the way to keep this good streak. Playing in Buesa with our fans is something special. Especially when we keep playing defense as we did in the third quarter, we get fastbreaks like we did today. I think people enjoy it, and also us.”

The match featured only seven made three-pointers between both teams. Baskonia prevailed despite being limited to 4/20, while the visitors finished with 3/26.

La Roca Team failed to retain focus after the break struggling on both ends of the floor. The French side went down to 2-3 with its third consecutive loss. Ex-Baskonia star James was held to 6/20 field goals but still scored a team-high 18 points. Danilo Andjusic put up 15 points and Jerry Boutsiele posted an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double at Vitoria-Gasteiz.

“I think the better team tonight won,” confessed Zvezdan Mitrovic on the losing end of the Montenegrin head coach matchup, “A team with more energy, more desire on defense. They played with a lot more passion and energy, especially on defense. All five of their players were aggressive, with a lot of contact and a lot of fight, and they made that advantage of 20 points. We tried to catch them, but it was too late. We also missed a lot of open shots, but it was too late. I think the key was Baskonia’s aggressiveness in the third quarter.”



After the recent drop to 3-3 in the ACB, the team coached by Ivanovic extended the EuroLeague streak with Alec Peters and Sander Raieste still out. Up next, a visit at UCAM Murcia Sunday, and two more games on the road in the approaching EuroLeague two-game week at UNICS Kazan Wednesday and Zenit Saint Petersburg Friday.

The team led by Mitrovic, 3-1 in France’s Betclic Elite LNB Pro A, visits Elan Bearnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez at the domestic level, before hosting Crvena Zvezda mts Tuesday and CSKA Moscow Friday.

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