Monaco takes out defending champion Pau-Orthez in the quarter-finals of the Coupe de France

Monaco takes out defending champion Pau-Orthez in the quarter-finals of the Coupe de France

The first three quarter-finals of the Coupe de France at the Arena Loire in Trélazé did not shine with their suspense. After clear wins from Strasbourg to Bourg-en-Bresse (88-71) and from Le Mans to Dijon (89-77), Monaco, leader of the Championship, did not tremble against Pau-Orthez (78-98). The Béarnais will not win a second consecutive Cup, after their coronation in April 2022 at the AccorArena. Another era: having come very close to administrative relegation last summer, Éric Bartecheky’s players are now fighting to stay on after losing most of their backbone this summer.

Against the Monegasques, Pau-Orthez held out for 15 minutes. American winger CJ Williams (11 points) gave them the advantage in the middle of the first quarter (12-11, 3rd) with a winning arrow. Without Mike James, suspended since Tuesday and not reinstated for the trip to Maine-et-Loire, Monaco was able to count on the Elie Okobo-Donta Hall duo. The leader-back offered a spectacular alley-oop to his pivot, at the heart of the first highlight of the Roca Team (17-25, 11th).

The beautiful entry from inside Darel Poirier and a new award-winning basket from CJ Williams allowed the Béarnais to pick up (30-32, 16th) but Monaco ended up flying away. Often limited to reduced playing time in the Euroleague, Jaron Blossomgame (20 points, 3 assists) shone on Saturday. The former winger from Ulm twice found the target behind the arc just before the break (37-47, 19th).

Asvel or Cholet to complete the last four

Pau-Orthez could not keep up with the acceleration of Monaco, not helped by the third foul collected by Vitalis Chikoko, his master weapon inside, on an elbow against Hall at the start of the third quarter- time (22nd). Six minutes later, Okobo (11 points, 6 assists), on his favorite “side-step”, knocked out Pau-Orthez (53-77, 29th). Landing Sané’s hot shot, three award-winning baskets in three minutes, brought a little hope to Pau fans (67-82, 34th), quickly extinguished by the Rock armada.

Exit in the semi-finals of the Coupe de France last season and eliminated from the start of the Leaders Cup in mid-February, Monaco will try to get closer to a first national trophy this season. The draw for the semi-finals will take place on Saturday evening after the last quarter between Asvel and Cholet.

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