Basketball: Roca Team lose as domestic regular season draws to a close

Chima Moneke: AS Monaco Basket v Le Mans

AS Monaco Basketball lost their final home match of the regular Betclic Elite Season against Le Mans (95-101) on Friday. Their lead at the top remains unassailable. 

Just 48 hours after their historic qualification for the Euroleague Final Four, the Roca Team were in action once more at the Salle Gaston Médecin. Naturally, this game wasn’t quite greeted with the same fanfare, and on the courts, there were discernable and understandable signs of a hangover on Monaco’s part.

Whist the Roca Team’s spot at the top of the Betlclic is already secured, Le Mans still had something to play for going into the final two games of the regular season. The difference in motivation levels showed as the away side began to construct a lead in the second quarter.

Mike James rested

With Monaco’s first-ever Final Four game under a week away, Sasa Obradovic fielded a much-changed side. Mike James and Jordan Loyd were amongst those rested, but Élie Okobo (16 points) made the team, as did his compatriot Matthew Strazel (nine points, six assists), who was Monaco’s main creative outlet.

It was, however, Alpha Diallo (28 points, five assists) who stood tallest for the Roca Team. The American, voted the fifth-best defender in the Euroleague this season, couldn’t inspire his side to victory, however.

Monaco fought back in the third quarter, but Le Mans put their foot back on the accelerator to make the definitive break and pierce the 100-point mark in an attacking game at the Gaston Médecin (95-101).

“It was hard after all of the emotions.”

The match is of little consequence for Monaco and is perhaps an unnecessary distraction. The most important thing is that no injuries were sustained. There is now just one game, away at Blois on Tuesday, before the Roca Team make the trip to Kaunas.

“We could have expected this after Wednesday’s emotions,” said assistant coach Mirko Ocokoljic. “We avoided injuries tonight, which is very important. Next stop – Final Four,” added Roca Team captain Yakuba Ouattara.


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Photo by AS Monaco Basket