By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Othello Hunter scored the layup after an inbound pass by Angelo Caloiaro with four seconds remaining to hand Maccabi Tel Aviv a 78 – 77 win on the road over Fenerbahce Beko. Thanks to this result, the “Yellows” swept the Turkish powerhouse in the EuroLeague regular season, improved to 16 – 8 and remained strong in the race for the Top 4.
Derrick Williams, Fenerbahce‘s top performer with 22 points and six rebounds, missed in his 3-point attempt from way downtown and the hosts suffered their first loss after three defeats in a row. They dropped to 11-13.
“I just tried to be focused,” Hunter said to EuroLeague TV. “I let Westermann shoot a triple in front of me, so I was kind of like, ‘Man, that was a mistake.’ And coach came up with a play couple weeks ago, and it was a perfect scenario and I just tried to execute. I am pleased. We can work more on our defensive rebounds. We let them get a lot of offensive rebounds. I am happy we won, but it is on to the next one.”
Othello Hunter gives Maccabi win over Fenerbahce pic.twitter.com/QH71hzZtG7
— Antonis Stroggylakis (@AStroggylakis) February 7, 2020
Kostas Sloukas had given Fenerbahce a 77 – 76 lead with 2/2 free throws in what was a rather dramatic finale. Zeljko Obradovic‘s team had recovered from an 8-point deficit (63 – 71), four minutes into the fourth period to go up when Leo Westermann drained a triple for the 75 – 74 with 1:06 left.
Tyler Dorsey responded with a mid-range jumper and then Hunter blocked Nando De Colo’s go-ahead attempt. On the other end, Dorsey was called with a travel before Sloukas‘ pair of free throws.
Hunter finished with 13 points while projected NBA Draft lottery pick Deni Avdija dropped a EuroLeague career-high 13 points (2/3 2-pointers, 3/6 3-pointers) in 20:43 minutes. He also threw down one of the most impressive dunks this season in the competition.
For Fenerbahce, Sloukas and Nikola Kalinic scored 18 apiece.
A 40-minute effort
While Hunter’s game-winner naturally attracted the bulk of attention, Maccabi coach Giannis Sfairopoulos emphasized on the overall performance of his players throughout the whole game.
“I think it was not only the last possession; we played really smart the entire game,” Sfairopoulos said. “We controlled the game with our defense, we moved the ball on offense. Second half put us under big pressure, but we came back after a timeout and we controlled the game. We had the lead at the end of the third, and then we went into a thriller. We had smart play at the end to win the game. We had smart plays from Tyler [Dorsey], who made an important two-point shot. We fought a lot. The only thing that we could do better is defensive rebounding. We could have done a little better job rebounding after missed shots from Fener, not let them shoot for second and third times. We had many injuries during the game. Jackson is not fully recovered, he went out of the game and came back. Wilbekin is not ready but he played. Acy had problems with his foot, but all the players gave maximum for the team, and that is the most important.”