By Stefan Djordjevic / firstname.lastname@example.org
Vladimir Lucic was on fire for the winning team with career-high 26 points on 7-8 shooting including a crucial contested three-pointer at the buzzer with two minutes remaining to give Bayern an 80-74 lead as well as a great defensive effort on Othello Hunter in the final minute.
“I’m really happy that we won today. We started pretty good from the first minute of the game defensively and I just made my shots today, so it’s a big victory for us,” Lucic said humbly after the game.
Paul Zipser followed with 16 in addition to Jalen Reynolds’ 15 points while Wade Baldwin added 13.
For Maccabi, Scottie Wilbekin started off very slow, scoring two points in the first half, but exploded afterward on the road to game-high 27 points. He also dished seven assists while Ante Zizic was the only constant throughout the game for the Israelis with 19 points on 8-9 from the field.
The first significant advantage for either side happened right before the halftime as Bayern got up by an 11-point margin (34-23). It was mainly a result of stealing the ball 11 times and forcing 14 turnovers out of the hosts who also struggled from deep, hitting just one three.
Zizic was the sole force keeping Maccabi alive as he banked 12 points without a miss along with five boards. He continued pushing the Israeli team after the break as well and with Wilbekin joining in with ten points in the third quarter, Maccabi cut the gap to 57-55.
It was all Wilbekin going forward for Maccabi as he kept the squad competitive, however, they just couldn’t get over the hump as Lucic, Zipser and Reynolds kept Bayern afloat.
“I believe that we saw everything that my team can do in the good and the bad. We were very good on defense, then we didn’t believe that we could win against Maccabi and we let them come back. We had a tough ending of the game, but I believe that the picture of the game where players dived on the floor, loose balls, this is the biggest thing that we did tonight. I believe that we fought for those balls 50/50 balls, extra possessions in the key moment. We played against Wilbekin, whose showing in second half was really impressive. But we go home with a win and it’s always a good feeling,” Bayern coach Andrea Trinchieri stated.