Maccabi Tel Aviv opened the Euroleague Top 16 with what could prove to be a
vital road win on Thursday night, beating Galatasaray 90-84 in
After an encouraging start, Maccabi found itself down by seven
points (47-40) at the halftime break and trailed throughout the third
However, an 18-3 run – inspired by Yogev Ohayon and Ricky Hickman
– in the fourth quarter stunned the Turks and gave the yellow-and-blue its
ninth-straight triumph in all competitions and ninth win in its past 10
After failing to score more than 78 points in its
last eight Euroleague games, a streak stretching back to the end of October,
Maccabi’s offense fired on all cylinders on Thursday, with the yellow-and-blue
reaching the 90-point mark for just the second time in 11 continental contests
The yellow-and-blue hit 25-of-42 two-point attempts (59
percent) and 10-of-20 three-pointers (50%), while committing just six
Hickman scored a season-best 24 points for Maccabi, with 11 of
them coming in the final frame.
Ohayon finished with 15 points, while
Devin Smith added 14 points and 10 rebounds and Alex Tyus contributed 12 points
and 11 boards in another excellent performance in the absence of the injured
Maccabi will host Lokomotiv Kuban in its second Top 16 game
next Thursday. Tel Aviv also faced the Russians in the regular season, winning
both home and away.
Former Maccabi guard, Carlos Arroyo, scored 19 points
for Gala, including five threes, but missed the final 2:40 minutes after
suffering an injury. Zoran Erceg added 17 points for the hosts, who connected on
14-of-30 three-point attempts.
With Real Madrid and CSKA Moscow
considered to be the favorites to finish Group F in the top two positions,
Maccabi knew that a win in Istanbul against a team expected to be one of its
main rivals for third place would be significant.
Maccabi played the ball
into center Sofoklis Schortsanitis in its first four possessions of the night
and the Greek scored the yellow-and-blue’s first five points to give it an early
Sofo would soon pick up fouls, but Tel Aviv nevertheless extended
its gap to eight points (25-17) after two consecutive baskets by
Arroyo’s second three-pointer of the game to beat the first quarter
buzzer limited the damage for the hosts (25-23) and Malik Hairston’s triple to
begin the second period gave Gala its first lead of the night.
would remain in control until the break, leading by as many as nine points
(43-34) before taking a seven-point cushion (47-40) into the interval after yet
another Arroyo three.
Erceg netted the first points of the second half to
take Gala’s gap back to nine points, but Maccabi would never lose touch, and
after both sides traded threes, Tel Aviv closed to within just two points
(65-63) with 10 minutes to play.
Two consecutive treys by the hosts, the
second of which by Ender Arslan, gave the Turks a 71-66 advantage early in the
fourth frame, but Galatasaray would score just three points in the subsequent
seven minutes and Maccabi surged ahead.
Tel Aviv’s backcourt duo of
Ohayon and Hickman terrorized the Turks, with the former scoring seven points
and the latter netting six points during an 18-3 run which put the visitors in
Cenk Akyol ended Gala’s rot with a triple with 1:45
minutes remaining, but Hickman immediately replied with a three at the other end
to reestablish a double- digit gap (87-77) and secure Maccabi got the Top 16 off
on the right foot.