By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
It was a close game from wire to wire, but Maccabi Tel Aviv got a lead almost from the get-go and kept it by tooth and claw until the end on the way to a 91-82 win over TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz.
To be exact Maccabi only momentarily led by double-digits after the first possession of the last period which made the score 71-60. Baskonia didn’t let the home side relax until the last minute, constantly trading blows with Maccabi.
Still, Baskonia couldn’t get into shooting distance, trimming the distance to four points (80-76) and setting the stage for a big three by Scottie Wilbekin which made the score 83-76 with two minutes left.
As Maccabi coach Giannis Sfairopoulos said: “I think today we showed our character. It was not easy to come today after a bad loss, to play after two days, and to perform as we performed tonight. For me what was most important is that we showed great effort on one side and from the other side, that we played excellent all together. I think that tonight, whoever came to play, no matter how much time he played, gave maximum for the team and this is very positive and this is what I like about this game”.
Elijah Bryant added four more unanswered points (87-76) and Maccabi kept things under control until the end.
After this result Maccabi has registered two wins over Baskonia, getting a clear advantage on a possible tie in the final standings as both teams currently have a 9-11 record.
Bryant and Othello Hunter with 14 points each were the top scorers of the winning side, while Yovel Zoosman added 11 and Angelo Caloiaro had 12. Wilbekin scored just nine points.
“Tonight I’m just happy for everybody”, said Hunter after the game. “We played hard. I’m just trying to take it one game at a time from this point on. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Pierria Henry had 19 points for Baskonia, Alec Peters added 18, but they couldn’t save the day. As Baskonia coach Dusko Ivanovic said: “Maccabi, I think, on this night played with more decisiveness and more clear ideas in the most important moments of the game. An offensive foul and a missed three-pointer is what decided the game.”