Cleveland Thomas Jr. was three points shy of tying the BAL record for most points in a game, but his effort wasn’t enough to beat US Monastir on Monday night in Dakar.

Thomas Jr. had a 13-for-21 shooting to finish with 38 points. He added 4 rebounds and 4 assists, but Rwanda Energy Group (REG) came up short 84-79 against Monastir.

Adonis Filer, the other REG player to score in double digits, finished with 21 points.

Monastir’s intensity and aggressiveness to start the game was fundamental for the Tunisian champions who improved to 3-1.

Monastir were so determined to bounce back from a shocking defeat to Abidjan Basket Club (ABC) on Friday, that in the third quarter, they led by 21 points (58-31).

Despite the score huge gap, REG rallied to bring the game back to a one-digit difference.

With two minutes left, REG trailed by five (72-67), but turning the ball over three times hurt their chances of winning the game.

“We had a very slow start. Defense wasn’t there in the beginning. We tried to find our way back, but we fell short,”

Filer admitted.

Talking about Thomas Jr, performance, Filer said:

“We had to keep feeding him the ball. He is the reason we got back into this game. Defense and Cleveland Thomas helped us back to the game.”

Winners of the 2023 Sahara Conference, REG closed their regular season with a 3-2 mark.

“We just to make sure we stay focused. I feel like we kind of lost focus these two games. We let the hype of qualifying disrupt our ultimate goal of winning the conference,”

Filer said.

Jerome Randle scored 10 of his team-high 32 points in the fourth quarter and added 3 assists; Ibrahima Thomas made 5 of his 9 three-pointers to finish with 17 points and Firas Lahyani contributed 11 points for Monastir.

After Monastir’s loss to ABC, Thomas noted:

“[Coach Modrag Perisic] made some adjustments because this was a very important game for us to qualify.”

Asked if Monastir was playing the way coach Perisic wanted to, the Senegalese forward replied:

“We are trying to do our best and build our identity as a team. Coach join the team three days before me. I got there five days before we came to Dakar. We are trying to find ourselves. The more we work together the better we are going to get as a team.”

US Monastir will take on hosts AS Douanes on Tuesday, March 21 for their last game of the regular season.

Source: NBA

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