Lofton, Le Mans win French final

JARED MACDONALD - [email protected]
Lofton -

Chris Lofton can add another title to his resume.

The Mason County graduate scored 10 points to help Le Mans Sarthe to a 76-74 victory over AS Monaco Basket in the deciding fifth game of the French Ligue Nationale de Basket JeepELITE championship series.

Monaco scored the first 10 points of the game, before a bucket from Lofton, who led the Royals to their first-ever basketball state title in 2003, got Le Mans on the board. They finished the opening quarter trailing, 28-17.

Down, 39-30, with 1:10 to play in the half, the Southeastern Conference career leader in 3-pointers made got going, scoring five straight points to get Le Mans within four at the break.

Lofton hit a triple to put Le Mans within two points with 8:29 to play in the third quarter. They took the lead, 43-42, with two free throws from Romeo Travis with just over seven minutes left in the quarter, but trailed, 56-55, heading into the fourth after a dunk from Monaco’s Elmedin Kikanovic with three seconds left.

Lofton was held scoreless in the final frame, but Travis gave Le Mans a 57-56 lead with 9:22 to play that Le Mans held onto throughout the remainder of the game.

It is Le Mans’ first LNB title since 2006 and their fifth overall.

Monaco took the first game in the final, 81-77, before Le Mans evened it at a game apiece with an 87-77 win. Lofton led his team to a 2-1 series advantage with 34 points in an 84-72 win in Game 3. The 34 points is the third-most in LNB finals history.

Monaco forced a deciding Game 5 by coming away with a 78-69 victory in Game 4. Lofton scored seven points in the loss.

Le Mans advanced to the championship series with an 85-79 win over SIG Basket Strasbourg in the final game of a best-of-five semifinal series. Lofton scored 25 points in the game, including 13 in overtime.

They beat Lyon-Lilleurbanne in the final two games of the quarterfinal series to keep the season alive. Facing elimination in Game 2 of the best-of-three series, Lofton went 6-of-11 from 3-point range and finished with 20 points.



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