Galatasaray Doga Sigorta Istanbul opened the Top 16 with a commanding road victory, triumphing 73-85 at AS Monaco. The first half was closely contested, but Galatasaray raced clear at the end of the third quarter, moving into a double-digit lead which would not be threatened as the home team desperately struggled for offensive production until it was far too late. Zach Auguste shined with a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Greg Whittington combined 9 points with 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Tai Webster scored 17 points, while Alex Poythress (15), Aaron Harrison (12) and Yigit Arslan (12) all got into double figures, too. Monaco was paced by Eric Buckner with 20 points with Norris Cole contributing 18 points in defeat.
Auguste leads Galatasaray past Monaco
<A fastbreak dunk by Buckner opened the scoring, and a triple by Dee Bost extended Monaco's lead. Webster scored twice in a 0-8 run to give Galatasaray its first lead as the hosts went 3 minutes without points. A three-pointer from Poythress made it 9-13, but Cole’s triple and free throws helped keep Monaco close before Auguste’s close-range finish fixed the score at 18-20 after 10 minutes. Cole struck from deep again to restore Monaco’s lead and then classily fed Yakuba Ouattara for an easy finish. Jaleel O'Brien scored twice to make it 29-24, but Webster’s three and fastbreak layup tied the game midway through the second quarter. Harrison struck from deep to send the visiting team ahead before Buckner’s big slam and Cole’s floater restored a Monaco advantage. Free throws on the halftime buzzer made it 39-38 at the break.
Baskets were evenly traded in the early stages of the second half with three close-range scores by Buckner answered by two from Auguste. But then a triple from Whittington, another Auguste layup and two scores from Harrison made it 47-56 with a 0-12 run. Although O’Brien ended the home team’s drought, it was soon a double-digit game as Arslan struck from deep. O'Brien netted again as the third quarter finished 54-61, but Arslan and Auguste opened the fourth quarter scoring for another double-digit lead. Monaco was held scoreless for more than 3 minutes before Paul Lecombe’s layup. Webster drove inside for a 56-70 lead midway through the fourth, before triples from Whittington and Arslan made the victory safe. A late flurry from Monaco reduced the deficit, but the outcome was never in doubt.
Third quarter spurt proves decisive
Monaco led 47-44 midway through the third quarter, but Galatasaray won the remainder of the quarter 7-17 to establish a lead and then started the final quarter with a 2-14 run to ensure the home team could not battle back.
Galatasaray dominates the boards
The visiting team dominated the rebounding battle, taking 46 boards against just 30 from Monaco. Zach Auguste led the way with 11, including 5 on the offensive end, aided by 10 from Greg Whittington
Free throws woes
Both teams produced poor free-throw shooting, with Monaco making only 11 of 22 attempts from the foul line (50%) and six home team players missing at least once. Galatasaray was not much better, making 12 of 20 (60%) as the otherwise excellent Auguste missed all 3 of his.
Monaco travels to UNICS Kazan in Round 2 of the Top 16 next Tuesday, while Galatasaray plays its first home game with a visit from Rytas Vilnius the following day.