Maccabi Tel Aviv was forced to dig deeper than expected, but it nevertheless returned to winning ways in the Euroleague on Thursday night, beating Bayern Munich 66-64 at Nokia Arena to improve to 5-1 in the Top 16.
Maccabi dropped to a defeat at Real Madrid two weeks ago, snapping a 17-game winning streak over all competitions.
However, it made it 21 wins from its past 22 games on Thursday, surviving a mighty scare, with Bayern’s Robin Benzing missing a chance to send the game to overtime at the buzzer.
David Blu and Ricky Hickman had 14 points each for Maccabi, with Devin Smith adding 12 points.
Nihad Djedovic had 14 points for Munich (2-4).
Maccabi lacked urgency from the start and found itself in an early seven-point hole (16-9).
However, after failing to reach double figures in the Top 16 until Thursday, Blu didn’t take long to find his rhythm against Bayern, tying the score (16-16) with a jumper before giving the hosts their first lead of the night (22-21) with a three-pointer to end the first period.
Blu already took his tally for the night passed double figures early in the second frame and tied his season high of 14 points by the break. However, Maccabi trailed for most of the first half and could do no better than draw level with the Germans (39-39) by the interval.
Munich led throughout the third quarter, but a Joe Ingles triple to end the period gave Maccabi the edge (52-50) and shifted the momentum in Tel Aviv’s favor ahead of the final 10 minutes.
The yellow-and-blue held Bayern scoreless for almost five minutes to start the fourth quarter, with Smith’s three opening a double-digit gap (60-50) for the first time in the game. The visitors never gave up the chase, but came no closer than two points (66-64) and Maccabi held on for a hard-fought victory.