Credit: Alfonso Cannavacciuolo/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images
Credit Alfonso Cannavacciuolo/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

AS Monaco (13-13) downed UNICS Kazan (13-12) 79-76 (22-19, 22-17, 17-19, 18-21) in dramatic fashion, as Mike James hit the game-winning three-pointer for the hosts, with seven seconds remaining.

Player of the Game
Mike  James
Mike James
Points 25
Accuracy 7-20
Rebounds 1
Assists 7

With the EuroLeague Round 20 contest at the Gaston Medecin tied at 76, Mike James carried the ball full-court, went to the corner and unleashed one of his trademark, off-the-dribble, off-balance three-pointers. Marco Spissu, who was guarding him after the switch, couldn't follow the American guard as he rapidly moved sideways and executed with precision.

It turned out to be the game-winner for Monaco since UNICS Kazan were not able to respond in the time remaining.

It was a suitable finish to a game that the Russian squad managed to turn into a fierce battle in the last seven minutes. Before that, Monaco dominated for the most part, leading by as many as 15 (70-55).

James finished the game with 25 points (4/9 two-point shots, 3/11 three-point shots, 8/8 free-throws), 7 assists, 2 steals and 25 PIR. Donatas Motiejunas and Alpha Diallo added 11 apiece for the winners, who played without guard-forward Dwayne Bacon.

Monaco returned to winning ways after a narrow home loss to Zalgiris before the break, while UNICS suffered their fifth loss in the last six games. The team from the Principality won both games against the Russian squad this season (88-80, 79-76).

UNICS Kazan had OJ Mayo on a great shooting night, as the former NBAer knocked down 5 of his 6 three-point attempts, including the one that evened the game before James took things into his hands.

Mario Hezonja had 20 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, but 4 turnovers. John Brown chipped in with 16 points, 8 rebounds, but Lorenzo Brown and Isaiah Canaan had a terrible day at work.

Brown logged 6 points on 1/9 from the field, plus 7 turnovers, while Canaan went scoreless in 12 minutes.

Mike James offered Monaco 6 of their first 10 points in the game, while Donatas Motiejunas, Will Thomas rebounded and scored to give the hosts an early 8-point lead (16-8).

On the other side, John Brown was a non-factor on both ends, and UNICS had to rely too much on their outside shooting. Mario Hezonja scored 10 points in the first quarter, more than half of his team's total tally.

UNICS kept struggling defensively, as Monaco found solid help in Donta Hall, who was approaching double-double mode (8 points, 7 rebounds) from the first half. Mike James took and made the three-point shot that allowed the hosts to restore the margin to eight (44-36) after UNICS had gotten closer.

"We had 10 turnovers in the first half, that's key. We need to keep the ball better. and find better options on offense. Mike James scored his usual difficult shots, but we are solid on defense," UNICS coach Velimir Perasovic commented at the break.

Tonye Jekiri got called his third foul less than four minutes into the third quarter, thus further limiting Perasovic's options. Alpha Diallo and Mike James paced Monaco to a double-digit lead (53-40), while Lorenzo Brown was suffocating offensively.

The good news for UNICS came when John Brown started winning some low-post battles and making some long-distance shots. A quick 0-6 run cut down the deficit to six (52-58), but Monaco for serious at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

The Monegasques' lead reached new heights (70-55) with seven minutes remaining, but the guests were not yet ready to give up. A partial score of 12-2 allowed UNICS to make it a five-point game (72-67), as Monaco were mostly shooting under pressure.

OJ Mayo hit his fourth (4/5) dagger in the game to bring last year's EuroCup finalists even closer (72-70), forcing Obradovic to call a time out. Donta Hall scored in traffic, but John Brown issued an immediate response scoring and drawing a foul (74-73).

In a crucial play, Mario Hezonja made an offensive foul on Diallo and then Will Thomas took care of business on the other end for Monaco, scoring his first second-half basket (76-73).

OJ Mayo, who had Perasovic streaming at him for not taking the shot earlier and choosing to pass to Hezonja instead, hit a corner three to tie the contest at 76 with 24 seconds left on the game clock.

That's when Mike James took over, handing Monaco their 13th win this season.

AS Monaco: Mike James 25 (4/9 2PT SHOTS, 3/11 3PT SHOTS, 8/8 FT, 7 AST, 2 ST, 25 PIR), Donatas Motiejunas 11 (5/6 FG, 0/1 FT, 10 REB, 2 ST, 2 AST), Alpha Diallo 11 (4/11 FG, 2/2 FT, 9 REB, 3 ST), Donta Hall 10 (5/7 FG, 7 REB), Will Thomas 7 (6 REB). 

UNICS Kazan: Mario Hezonja 20 (4/9 2PT SHOTS, 3/7 3PT SHOTS, 3/4 FT, 8 REB, 5 AST, 2 ST), John Brown 16 (6/10 FG, 4/6 FT, 8 REB, 2 AST, 2 ST), OJ Mayo 15 (5/6 3PT SHOTS, 3 REB), Marco Spissu 10 (3/5 3PT SHOTS, 1/2 FT, 4 REB, 4 AST, 1 ST), Lorenzo Brown 6 (1/9 FG, 4/4 FT, 5 AST, 2 ST).

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AS Monaco
Field goals

Best players

Mike  James
25 PTS
7/20 FG
8/8 FT
Mario  Hezonja
20 PTS
7/16 FG
3/4 FT
Donatas  Motiej┼źnas
10 REB
Few players
Mike  James
7 As
2 TO
34 MIN
Few players
5 As
Mike  James
25 EFF
44% 2P%
27% 3P%
John  Brown
27 EFF
67% 2P%
0% 3P%