Maccabi Tel Aviv improved to 4-0 in Euroleague Group B with embarrassing ease on Thursday night, crushing Prokom Gdynia of Poland 93-62 at Nokia Arena.
For a second straight week the yellow-and-blue completely outplayed its continental opponent, opening a 20-point gap by the break and sailing trouble free to the victory in the second half.
After being humbled by Maccabi Rishon Lezion in BSL action on Sunday for its first local defeat in 10 months, some Maccabi fans were slightly concerned with the way the team would react on Thursday.
However, their trepidation was unfounded considering Maccabi thrashed Gdynia by an average margin of 25.3 points in their previous four meetings and Tel Aviv thoroughly dominated the Poles once more on Thursday.
Ricky Hickman led four Maccabi players in double-figures with 14 points and six assists. David Logan scored 13, with Giorgi Shermadini and Nik Caner-Medley adding 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Jerel Blassingame had 14 points for Gdynia, which fell to 1-3.
Maccabi visits Alba Berlin next Thursday and will be confident of maintaining its perfect record on the way to eventually clinching first place in one of the weakest regular season groups it has ever played in.
With the loss to Rishon still fresh in its mind, Tel Aviv was determined to get off to a fast start against Prokom and it didn’t take long to open a double-digit margin.
It was clear Maccabi meant business as it took the visitors almost three minutes to score their first points of the night and Caner-Medley’s aggressive play on the offensive end put the hosts in control.
Caner-Medley had just eight points in total in Maccabi’s first three Euroleague games, but he scored six within the first five minutes on Thursday, with his three-point play opening a fivepoint advantage (12-7).
Maccabi caught fire from beyond the arc in the closing stages of the period, with two three-pointers by Logan followed by another from Hickman, opening a 21-9 gap.
Yogev Ohayon’s basket to end the quarter took the lead to 14 points (27-13) and Maccabi’s win was never in any doubt after that.
Prokom could find no answer for Logan and Hickman in the second quarter and Devin Smith’s basket to end the half gave Maccabi a 20point margin (50-30) from which the Poles were never going to come back.
Also Thursday, Maccabi Haifa became the final team to advance to the State Cup round of 16, thrashing Kiryat Tivon of the National League 114-73.
Paul Stoll scored 31 points, hitting nine three-pointers for Haifa, while Pat Calathes added 17 points and 15 rebounds.
The draw for the last 16 will take place during the halftime break of Sunday’s BSL game between Haifa and Maccabi Tel Aviv.
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