Efes brings Mac TA back down to earth

November 15, 2017 04:40

Yellow-and-blue beaten by 20 points at Yad Eliyahu to fall to 4-3 in Euroleague play

2 minute read.

Efes Istanbul guard Errick McCollum was in unstoppable form at Yad Eliyahu Arena last night, scoring

Efes Istanbul guard Errick McCollum was in unstoppable form at Yad Eliyahu Arena last night, scoring 31 points in his team’s 92-72 win over Maccabi Tel Aviv.. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

It took just five days for the impressive win over Real Madrid to become a distant memory for Maccabi Tel Aviv, with the yellow-and-blue suffering a painful 92-72 defeat to Efes Istanbul on Tuesday night in Euroleague action at Yad Eliyahu Arena.

Maccabi was hoping to build on the momentum of last Thursday’s victory over Real, but instead it was reminded that nothing can be taken for granted in the Euroleague, falling to a 4-3 record with its second home loss of the campaign.

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After a tight first 10 minutes, Istanbul seized control behind a superb shooting display by guard Errick McCollum, who finished with 31 points, including 8-of-11 from three-point range, despite injuring his ankle earlier this week.

Maccabi was still in the game with six minutes to play, trailing by six points (74- 68). But the hosts couldn’t complete a comeback and will quickly turn their focus to their next Euroleague game at Khimki Moscow on Thursday.

“Every time I come to Israel it is personal,” said McCollum, who began his professional career at Elitzur Netanya in 2010. “I remember my first year when I didn’t get to play much so I carry that with me. It is a chip on my shoulder and I will never forget it. Israel is my favorite country and I wasn’t going to miss this game for the world.”

Pierre Jackson had 20 points for Maccabi, with Jonah Bolden adding 12 points and eight rebounds.

After a close first quarter ended tied at 19-19, McCollum caught fire for the visitors and almost single-handedly opened a double- digit margin.

The 29-year-old guard scored 16 points by himself in the second period, the same amount as the entire Maccabi roster.

McCollum netted five three-pointers in the quarter, with Efes leading by as many as 15 points before taking a 12-point cushion (47- 35) into the break.

Istanbul entered the game as the thirdworst three-point shooting team in the competition at 29.6 percent (Maccabi was second-worst at 29.1 percent), but it did manage to convert 10-of-22 (45.5 percent) shots from beyond the arc in its win against Barcelona last Thursday and kept the momentum going by scoring 9-of-14 in the first half at Yad Eliyahu.

It was clear Maccabi had to do something different in the second half and Jackson came out of the locker room in unstoppable form. The guard scored 13 points by himself in the first five minutes, bringing the yellow- and-blue to within five points (57-52).

Maccabi was down by six (67-61) entering the final 10 minutes, but McCollum ensured the hosts would come no closer.

Tel Aviv was still within six points (74-68) with six minutes to play, but it would not be its night, with Efes scoring 18 of the final 22 points of the game to register a resounding victory and improve to 2-5.

In other basketball news, Hapoel Eilat sacked coach Meir Tapiro on Tuesday.

Eilat parted ways with Tapiro after just six BSL games, with the team falling to 1-5 on Monday with its fourth straight loss, dropping to a 70-69 home defeat to Bnei Herzliya.

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