By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
The import trio took over on both sides of the floor and ultimately prevailed.
Brown with 13 points and 10 assists, Colson with 16 points, four blocks, and two steals, and Baldwin with 15 points did their part, but the guests almost stole the game.
“Just a lot of hustle and we wanted to win. We didn’t want to lose our first game at home, especially our fans. So we gave them what they wanted”, said Brown.
With the game on the line, the home crowd helped with their energy, and coach Oded Kattash didn’t forget them: “It’s a very important win. Especially here at home in front of our crowd. In the second half, we showed some heart. We played better defense. We’ve got to be more consistent. Coming into this game, we knew they’d never give up. That’s their team; that’s Zalgiris, their history. And the story of the game was rebounding, the 17 offensive rebounds that kept them in the game. We are starting the process. We have a lot of things to improve and to work on, but it’s always better to start it with a W.”
Former Maccabi player Keenan Evans with 17 points was the top scorer of the losing side, Kevarrius Hayes added 16 and Tomas Dimsa with 13 points almost shocked Tel Aviv.
A 50-46 halftime lead for Zalgiris prepared everyone for a competitive game. Still, Maccabi started the third period with a 21-3 run, getting a solid 12 points advantage (65-53).
The guests reacted and thanks to Dimsa made it a four-point game (65-61) after their own 8-0 run and ended the quarter trailing by six (71-65).
Maccabi got once again a double-digit lead (76-65) but it was not enough. Zalgiris didn’t give up and trimmed the lead to one point (82-81) after two free throws by Lukas Lekavicius while Baldwin got his fifth foul.
With the hosts shaken, Zalgiris took the 83-82 lead with 1,5 minutes left after a shot by Dimsa. Alex Poythress, who finished the game with 10 points, gave Maccabi back the lead (84-83) and Dimsa missed twice the chance to give to Zalgiris the lead back and win the game.
Zalgiris coach Kazys Maksvytis stressed that both teams could have won: “Today, both teams had a chance to win, but Maccabi was one point better. So congrats. From our side, I think a bad start to the third quarter cost us the win. After coming back to the game, we still had the last possession for the win, but we lost. So we have a couple of good things. First of all, we controlled the boards, especially the offensive rebounds. But we made a lot of turnovers, and especially from the offense in the second half, we started losing our advantage and lost the game.”
Photo credit: EuroLeague