AS Monaco claim narrow first-leg advantage over Stelmet Enea Zielona
ZIELONA GORA (Basketball Champions League) - Stelmet Enea Zielona Gora trailed AS Monaco Basket by as many as 23 points in the first half but battled back and only fell in the opening leg of their Basketball Champions League League tie, 84-82, in Poland.
📽 Highlights: @ASMonaco_Basket celebrate a 2-point win on a buzzer-beating runne but @Basket_ZG will feel good about themselves as they erased a 23-point deficit!— #BasketballCL (@BasketballCL) March 6, 2018
📊 https://t.co/XMpIP1pF8y #BasketballCL pic.twitter.com/Ka5zWTcqVe
Riding the hot hand of Martynas Gecevicius, who poured in a season-high 23 points while drilling 4 of 6 shots from long range and also making all 11 of his free-throws for the home side, and also a much improved defensive effort, the Polish outfit was a different team in the second half.
They ended up out-rebounding Monaco, 35-30. Thirteen of Zielona Gora's rebounds came on the offensive glass and led to a lot of second-chance points.
Monaco, led by Gerald Robinson's 17 points, will host the second leg in one week.
"It was a strange game, two totally different halves," Gecevicius said. "The first half, we didn't play the way we were supposed to play in an important game against a good team, but in the second half we adjusted to how they were playing really well."
The coach of the hosts, Andrej Urlep, was disappointed with his team's lack of focus early on but pleased with how his players responded after the break.
"The second half we defended much, much better, that's what got us back into the game," Urlep said.
The hosts did a lot of their damage at the free-throw line, making 24 of their 31 attempts. Monaco finished 11 of 14 at the charity stripe.
"In the first half, we just weren't where we needed to be with our heads but in the second half, we cleared that out," Urlep said.