Roca Team crumble in Serbian cauldron

AS Monaco Basketball were dominated from start to finish by Red Star Belgrade in a disappointing result that leaves Sasa Obradovic’s men lose their Euroleague table-topping position. 

Just 48 hours after an enthralling win over Olympiacos at the Salle Gaston Médecin, the Roca Team made the trip to Belgrade on Thursday to face Obardovic’s former team – Red Star.

At the home of Red Star, known as ‘the cauldron’, Monaco seemed burned out. Their exploit against Olympiacos had clearly taken its toll and the side failed to match their opponent’s intensity. Red Star began with a flurry, creating a break (11-23), that was never recovered.

Monaco struggled in their build-up, but could still count on the efficiency of  Mike James (26 points) to keep them in the tie. Often that is enough, but not against Red Star, who didn’t lift off the accelerator, continuing their barrage and their way to winning each quarter, and securing a comfortable victory (92-68) that consolidates their place in the mid-table.

Monaco’s John Brown III regretted the side’s slow start to the encounter. “It was too hard to come back with such a big points gap. We made the effort, but ultimately it wasn’t good enough. We need to get back to Monaco, get back to work and move forward as quickly as possible,” he said.

Yakuba Ouattara steals late Monaco victory

The Roca Team were looking to bounce back in the Betclic Elite on Sunday, and they did so against a stern Cholet side, who prior to the match had been unbeaten at home since the start of the season.

Cholet, a major rival in this year’s championship looked like retaining their invincibility, but having been led for much of the match, Monaco fought back. Then, with just four seconds left on the clock, Obradovic’s men executed the pivotal play, James finding Ouattara, who beat his man, strode into the key and made the crucial T2 attempt to secure a narrow, one-point victory (88-89).

Monaco are now outright leaders of the French division, one win ahead of Boulogne-Levallois and two wins above Sunday’s opponent – Cholet. The Principality’s basketball side next face a tough Euroleague trip to Turkey, where they will face Fenerbahçe.

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Photo by AS Monaco Basket