19 September, 2017
06 May, 2018
2 D.j. Cooper (FRA)
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Road to F4: Monstars emerging as one of the most dominant teams in Europe

ATHENS (Basketball Champions League) - Best defensive team, third-best offensive team, 16-2 in the Basketball Champions League, with 14 straight wins over two seasons... We always knew AS Monaco will be back at the Final Four.

The most dominant team of the season stormed through Group A, collecting 13 wins in first 13 Regular Season games. With their win in the 3rd Place Game last season, they've set an all-time Basketball Champions League high with 14 straight victories, a record that will probably not be surpassed any time soon.

At the start of the season, it wasn't a question of a potential defeat of Monaco. It was more of a who-can-stay-in-single-digits type of thing, and nobody delivered early on - Juventus Utena were blown out by 37 on Gameday 1, UNET Holon fell by 29, and Enisey Krasnoyarsk were the closest of the trio, losing by 16.

Some thought that the game away in Sardinia would cause them problems, given Dinamo Sassari's well-known home court advantage. But AS Monaco switched through gears, winning by 18 away from home! EWE Baskets Oldenburg lost by 15, and it was only UCAM Murcia - another Final Four team - that kept AS Monaco's winning margin in single digits, in a 63-68 outing in Spain.

With three more wins, Zvezdan Mitrovic's boys reached the milestone of a 10-0 start to the Regular Season. Leading us to use the name Monstars 2.0, a Space Jam reference appropriate for the dominance they've shown.

😈 Monstars 2.0! 😈 #BasketballCL

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In fact, they've only tasted defeat on last Regular Season Gameday, away at Pinar Karsiyaka. That 84-77 scoreline came as a wake-up call for Mitrovic, he could use it to show his team that winning the first seed in Group A was just the first step, with tougher assignments waiting around the corner.

Round of 16 - When Roca Team rocked the Green Hill

The draw was deceptive for AS Monaco. They had to travel to Poland to visit Stelmet Enea Zielona Gora, a team that was on a huge winning run to get into the Play-Offs, and the first leg of Round of 16 showed just how good the Polish champs were. It took a buzzer-beating runner by Gerald Robinson to earn Monaco an 84-82 win.

Maybe Zielona Gora surprised the French League leaders in that First Leg. But there were no alarms and no surprises in the reverse fixture, with AS Monaco pulling a show of force, winning by the final score of 90-60 and advancing to the Quarter-Finals with a sweep. D.J. Cooper was unstoppable, 8 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds.

Quarter-Finals - Celebrating a defeat

Monaco would face a familiar foe in the Quarter-Finals. Last season, Monaco and Banvit were drawn in the same group, and then met each other at the Final Four, with Banvit stopping Monaco's run and sending them to the 3rd Place Game.

Monaco were back with a vengeance, taking Game One of the Quarter-Finals in Turkey, winning 85-77, and taking charge of that tie. Banvit were hoping for a miracle in the Second Leg, but Gerald Robinson sent them back home, with a 30-point performance.

"It is weird celebrating after a loss but that's the way the series is," Robinson said of Monaco punching their ticket to the Final Four. "We've reached one of our goals but want to keep it going."

Monaco's first home defeat in two seasons of Basketball Champions League, only the second defeat of their European campaign, and they still got to the Final Four.

They arrive in Athens on a 16-2 record in Basketball Champions League this season. Monaco are a 24-7 team domestically, standing tall at the top of French Jeep Elite League, and they've already won the Leaders Cup in France. With a 116.5 offensive rating, and a league-leading 95.3 defensive rating, Mitrovic's boys could celebrate their first international trophy.

Regular Season, Group A
2-0 v Juventus Utena (90-53, 92-85)
2-0 v UNET Holon (85-56, 94-64)
2-0 v Enisey Krasnoyarsk (89-73, 94-65)
2-0 v Dinamo Sassari (81-63, 87-55)
2-0 v EWE Baskets Oldenburg (88-73, 84-78)
2-0 v UCAM Murcia (68-63, 83-75)
1-1 v Pinar Karsiyaka (79-65, 77-84)

Round of 16
174-142 v Stelmet Enea Zielona Gora (84-82, 90-60)

159-152 v Banvit (85-77, 74-75)