AS Monaco Basketball progressed in the French Basketball Cup but stumbled at the first hurdle in the Leaders Cup in a week of mixed fortunes for the Principality side.
The Roca Team are currently enjoying a break from Euroleague action but were last week on the trail for silverware. France’s two domestic cup competitions got up and running with things starting positively for Sasa Obradovic’s men against Boulogne-Levallois on Wednesday.
Victor Wembanyama contained
The new start of French basketball, Victor Wembanyama (13 points) was in town, and fans packed into the Salle Gaston Médecin to watch him on Wednesday. Thanks to the diligent work on the Monaco defence, the Frenchman didn’t inflict his usual level of damage. That coupled with a mammoth collective scoring effort allowed the Roca Team to blow their opponents away, scoring over 20 points in each quarter, piercing the 100-point mark and winning by 31 points (107-76).
The usual suspects, Mike James (18 points), Elie Okobo (15 points) and Alpha Diallo (10 points) all chipped-in in a surprisingly comfortable win for Les Monégasques. However, in the wake of the victory, Obradovic could already see signs of trouble.
“Despite the clear victory, I saw too many errors. However, I am happy with how the team reacted after these previous matches. We approach the Leaders Cup like we should. We are the favourites for the competition and we can’t hide that,” said Obradovic.
An early exit from the Leaders Cup
Attributed the tag of favourites, the Roca Team didn’t live up to expectations against a dogged Bourg-en-Bresse side on Friday. Monaco had fallen victim to the French side just five days earlier in the league (90-88), but lessons were clearly not learnt.
Obradovic’s side were wasteful in the quarter-final of the competition, which gathers the highest-performing sides in the Betclic Elite, whilst they once again failed to effectively deal with Bourg-en-Bresse’s offence.
James’ 26 points couldn’t compensate for the lax defensive performance and a lack of accompanying cast as Monaco suffered a surprising and disappointing defeat to a team that could be considered of inferior standing.
Obradovic was scathing in his criticism post-match: “The best team is advancing to the semi-final, and why were they better? That’s the question. People said that we were too good for the division, but clearly not. This team must fight 100% for everything and we didn’t do that from the first possession. Everyone has to take responsibility, including me first and foremost,” said the Serbian coach.
An unintended positive consequence of the early exit from the Leaders Cup is that his side have a whole week to prepare for their clash against Barcelona in the Euroleague with the Roca Team hoping to bounce back from a week of mixed domestic fortunes.
Photo by AS Monaco Basket