By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
It was Tyler Dorsey, Maccabi‘s top scorer with 15 points, that “iced” the game for his team with a pair of free throws with 15 seconds remaining that put his team up by a two-possession distance. The “Yellows” led with a small yet steady advantage for most of the fourth period and repelled all Baskonia efforts to tie the game after the 56-56, two minutes into the quarter.
“I would say the stops we were getting were the key for us,” Dorsey said. “We had a game plan coming into the game, they are a good transition team, they’ve been scoring a lot this season. Defensively we got stops and that was a big key for us. Fall, we know he is big, and when he gets it down there, he got a lot of buckets tonight. But we controlled everybody else, that’s how we got the win tonight.”
Baskonia had begun the game with a 22-12 entrance which was answered with a 0 – 10 run by Maccabi that proceeded to go up 33 – 37 at halftime. The hosts fought back to retake the lead with the game remaining a close affair until the very end. Achille Polonara led Baskonia with 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists, Youssoupha Fall had 14 points plus six rebounds while Pierria Henry finished with 11 points, six rebounds and five dimes.
“Maccabi played good defense tonight,” Baskonia coach Dusko Ivanovic said. “They are a team that plays good defense, but above all, we played too slow and our five-on-five offense was too slow and too predictable. I believe that some players have to recover physically because they played a lot of minutes. We have to play the way we do best: aggressive on defense, fast, and our offense has to be better than it was tonight, that’s for sure.”
For Maccabi, Othello Hunter finished with 12 points plus five rebounds and Chris Jones dropped 10 points.
A win instead of a loss in the last seconds
Maccabi had suffered numerous hearbreaks in the Euroleague season thus far, losing games in the very last moments. It was a relief for coach Giannis Sfairopoulos to see such a close game going his and his players’ way for once.
“We had some games in the past that we lost in the last minute, six out of our eight defeats we lost in the last minute by a margin of 4 points or less,” Sfairopoulos said. “I think tonight we did everything the right way, we were very concentrated in every part of the game, especially at the end in the crucial moments, to play good defense and to score some easy baskets at the end to win the game. I want to wish good luck to Baskonia.”