By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
AS Monaco heading back home packing a win, 96-72, against Olympiacos Friday.
Mike James poured 21 out of his 23 points in the second half guiding his side to the win on the road. Getting the job done in Game 2, the team led by Sasha Obradovic knotted the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Quarterfinals best-of-five series at one win apiece.
“Just staying aggressive,” James commented on his second-half performance, “I thought I was a little passive in the first game. I did not really attack as much as I wanted to. This game, I wanted to make sure I came out aggressive, and insert myself a little more.”
La Roca Team was on the receiving end of a 13-0 run in the first quarter but responded with a 20-0 run of its own stretching through most of the second period. Being that simple playing in a packed Peace And Friendship Stadium would be considered unlikely but the solid offensive showing after the break powered by James actually sustained a safe distance.
“This is a great win, especially on the road,” noted Andjusic after scoring a EuroLeague personal-best 19 points on his 31st birthday, “We came here with the goal to take at least one win, so we can go home with some kind of advantage. We have a lot more work to do.”
Dwayne Bacon, the driving force in the 20-point sprint, contributed 17 points. The Florida State product also pulled down six rebounds and logged three steals. Alpha Diallo suited up but did not play, while Ibrahima Fall Faye and Rob Gray remained inactive.
“I think we were completely different and mentally ready for this game,” said Obradovic comparing Game 1 to Game 2, “From the first minute, we knew what we want. We drew good mismatches. We defended much better giving us the opportunity to run. The high-scoring game best suits us.”
Sasha Vezenkov stood out with 14 points in the losing effort for the team coached by Giorgos Bartzokas. His three early steals fueled the early lead, but the Greek giant committing 20 turnovers countered the hot start. Hassan Martin (leg) stayed on the injury list limiting frontcourt options.
“It was not our night. They made a lot of difficult shots at the end of the shot clock,” claimed Bartzokas, “We are going to come back and be better in the next game.”
Coming in with nine wins in a row across all competitions and 14-1 at home over the entire EuroLeague season, the hosts surrendered the home-court advantage to the Quarterfinals rivals. Games 3 and 4 will be hosted in Salle Gaston Medecin next week, Wednesday and Friday, respectively.
Photo Credit: EuroLeagueBasketball.net