Maccabi Tel Aviv edged ever closer to clinching first place in Euroleague Group
B on Thursday night, steamrolling Prokom Gdynia in the fourth quarter on the way
to an 89-73 victory in Poland.
Maccabi trailed throughout much of the
first three periods and entered the final frame down by five points
However, it got its act together against the group’s weakest
team in the final 10 minutes, outscoring the Poles 29-8 to improve to
The yellow-and-blue hosts Alba Berlin in its final regular season
game next Thursday, with a victory to ensure it advances to the Top 16 as a
Ricky Hickman led five Maccabi players in double figures
with 20 points in Poland, with Lior Eliyahu, who captained the side for the
first time in place of the disgraced Guy Pnini, scoring 16
Maccabi suspended Pnini until further notice, stripped him of the
captaincy and also fined him NIS 100,000 after he was caught calling Hapoel Tel
Aviv player Jonathan Skjoldebrand a Nazi, among other profanities, during
Yogev Ohayon added 14 points, four assists and four
rebounds, with Rasid Mahalbasic scoring 14 for Gdynia, which fell to
Maccabi entered Thursday’s encounter 5-0 all-time against Gdynia,
winning by an average margin of 26.4 points.
However, any illusion it may
have had that Prokom would willingly hand it the win was shattered in the first
quarter, with the Poles taking a 16-12 lead after an 8-0 run.
scored just four field goals in the first 10 minutes, while committing seven
turnovers, and entered the second frame down by four points
Gdynia extended its margin to double-digits (38-28) with just
over three minutes remaining in the first half thanks to a Ryan Richards basket
and the hosts were still in control at the break, leading 42-35.
kept chipping away at the gap, but whenever it got to within striking distance,
Prokom surged ahead and the hosts took a 65-60 advantage into the final
However, Tel Aviv dominated the fourth frame, beginning it with
a 19-2 run which effectively clinched the win.
David Logan finally found
his range and Shawn James did as he pleased under the baskets, giving the
yellow-and-blue a 79-67 margin from which Gdynia was never going to return with
an unchallenged dunk.
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