Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Jeremy Pargo.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Jeremy Pargo’s three-pointer as time expired ensured Maccabi Tel Aviv extended its Euroleague winning streak to five games in Istanbul on Thursday night, securing a 97-94 overtime victory over Galatasaray.
Maccabi looked to be in serious trouble when it trailed by 10 points midway through the third quarter, with Galatasaray putting up a fierce fight despite playing without injured stars Carlos Arroyo and Vladimir Micov.
However, missed free throws by Zoran Erceg in the closing seconds gave Maccabi another chance in overtime and Pargo kept the yellow-and-blue’s momentum going with an eighth win from the past nine Euroleague games and a 20th victory from the last 21 contests over all competitions.
After emerging over recent weeks as a serious contender to win Top 16 Group E with victories over Barcelona and Real Madrid, Maccabi backed it up by improving to 5-1 on Thursday ahead of next week’s game against Alba Berlin.
“This was a very tough game,” said Maccabi coach Guy Goodes.
“They were missing two key players and we knew their other players would step up in their place. We allowed too many easy baskets and there is no excuse for that. However, we showed our character yet again to eke out the win.”
Devin Smith was superb for Maccabi once more, scoring 24 points, including five three-pointers, while also registering four assists and four rebounds. Pargo added 17 points and five boards, with Sylven Landesberg finishing with 14 points.
Erceg led five Galatasaray (2-4) players in double figures with 29 points and seven rebounds.
Maccabi got off to the better start, but a Martynas Pocius basket gave Galatasaray its first lead of the night (15-13) midway through the first quarter. Tel Aviv replied with nine straight points to seize control and its gap reached nine points (27-18) after Landesberg’s three-pointer capped a 14-3 run.
The Turks limited the damage by scoring the final four points of the first period (27-22) and a tight second quarter would ensue. Maccabi maintained a slender margin for much of the period, only for Galatasaray to end the first half with an 8-0 surge and take a 49-44 advantage into the break.
Ender Arslan’s basket extended the gap to double-digits (59- 49) midway through the third frame and Maccabi looked to be in trouble, with the Abdi Ipekci Arena rocking. However, the yellow-and-blue would limit the Turks to five points in the remainder of the quarter and completed a comeback with a 14-3 run before Gala’s Justin Carter scored the final points of the period to give the hosts the edge (64-63) entering the final 10 minutes.
Seven Landesberg points, a four-point play followed by a triple, within 40 seconds shifted the momentum in Maccabi’s favor, establishing a six-point lead (75-69) three minutes into the final frame.
Smith’s three-pointer with 3:25 minutes to play looked to have all but wrapped up a Maccabi win, opening a 10-point gap (83-73). However, Tel Aviv lost its composure after that and was fortunate not to lose in regulation.
Erceg scored nine points in the final two-and-a-half minutes, but his misses from the free-throw line would cost his team. The Serbian forward only scored one of two shots from the charity stripe with 32 seconds remaining, and after Pargo’s attempted three was short at the other end, Erceg leveled the score at 85-85 before missing his second attempt from the line with four seconds left.
The teams were separated by no more than three points throughout the extra period, but Pargo ensured it was Maccabi which had the slender edge as the buzzer sounded, giving the yellow-and-blue another valuable win on the road.