By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
AS Monaco forward Alpha Diallo was averaging just 3.4 points in the first five games of his EuroLeague career before the game of his team against Crvena Zvezda.
Tonight (26/10), he had a breakout performance of a game-high 19 points plus seven rebounds as Monaco defeated Zvezda 70 – 62, in a way beating them in their own area of expertise: Defense.
“It was hard-fought game and we gutted it out,” Diallo said. “It was a 40-minute game, a 40-minute effort and we came out with the win so we’re happy with that.”
Monaco held Red Star to just nine points in the fourth period to complete an overall comeback from down 12 and return to EuroLeague wins after two straight losses. The hosts held a lead a steady, albeit short lead in the entire fourth period and it wasn’t until the final minutes that they secured the victory.
After keeping his team at a distance with free throws, Diallo grabbed a big offensive rebound with the score 66 – 62 and 30 seconds to play. He added two more points in his new trip to the line and on the other end, an 8-second violation rule by Zvezda sealed the Serbian team’s loss.
Donatas Motiejunas contributed 14 points and seven boards for Monaco in his top EuroLeague performance this season and following his comeback to the competition after 10 years.
“Of course it’s very important for us as a team,” Motiejunas said. “All three losses were close so it was really important to get back on a winning roll in the EuroLeague, so everyone is happy and we’re happy we could give this to our fans.”
Nate Wolters had 18 points on 8-9 2-pointers while Nikola Kalinic finished with 15 points, five rebounds and three steals for Zvezda. Their team was up 29 – 17 early in the second period and led 41 – 36 at halftime until Monaco took the advantage for good by the end of the third quarter.
“Congrats to Monaco for the win,” Crvena Zvezda coach Dejan Radonjic said. “It was a close game, 2 offensive rebounds [for Monaco] in the end, our offense was not that good in the last minutes, and they win.”
Not a pretty one but a win is a win
AS Monaco coach Zvezdan Mitrovic acknowledged that this match wasn’t exactly what fans love to see but was pleased to see his guys coming up on top after a big fight.
“I cannot say it was a beautiful game, but we fought for 40 minutes,” Mitrovic said. “We expected a game like this, not like the game against Barcelona where we played really great, everybody running, now it was a tough, tough game. But we make one more victory in the EuroLeague which is great. We did our job.”
Photo: EuroLeague Basketball