Mac TA stops the Euroleague bleeding

Yellow-and-blue injects some life back into its continental campaign with home conquest of Kazan.

January 27, 2017 04:46
2 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Yogev Ohayon (right) was one of two yellow-and-blue players to score in doubl

Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Yogev Ohayon (right) was one of two yellow-and-blue players to score in double figures in last night’s 60-52 win over Unics Kazan and Paul Stoll. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

Two days after one of the most humiliating defeats in its history, Maccabi Tel Aviv returned to winning ways in the Euroleague on Thursday night.

But the 60-52 victory over Unics Kazan at Yad Eliyahu Arena was anything but encouraging for the yellow-and-blue. Maccabi’s performance on Thursday only provided further proof that it is among the worst teams in the competition.

Maccabi scored just 18-of-44 two-point shots (40.9%) and 4-of- 14 three-point attempts (28.6%), while committing 14 turnovers.

But that was enough to beat a Kazan side that shot 31.1 percent (14-of-45) from two-point range and 20.8% (5-of-24) from beyond the arc.

Maccabi improved to a 7-13 record with its second win in the past 11 continental games, two days after it was thrashed 102-63 by Galatasaray in Istanbul, suffering its third heaviest defeat in club history and the biggest since it was trounced by 47 points at Real Madrid in January 1976.

“We showed pride, effort and aggressiveness. All the things we missed in the last game,” said Maccabi coach Ainars Bagatskis.

“Two days ago we were knocked out, but we woke up and we showed we have respect.”

Andrew Goudelock led Maccabi with 17 points, with Yogev Ohayon scoring 10.

“This was a very important win,” said Goudelock. “We’ve been having a rough year and a rough couple of months and we just needed some confidence."

"Everyone has been down and we executed today and it feels good."

“It was a very ugly game,” admitted the American. “I’m pretty sure people watching weren’t very happy, but sometimes it is like that.”

Orlando Johnson had 13 points for Kazan, which fell to 7-13.

Maccabi held Kazan to just nine points in the first 10 minutes, its best defensive quarter of the campaign. However, the yellow- and-blue only managed 16 points itself, failing to take full advantage of its opponent’s poor offensive play.

Maccabi held an eight-point advantage (20-12) after Kazan opened the game by missing its first 10 three-point attempts, with Gal Mekel’s layup giving the hosts a nine-point cushion (33- 24) at the break.

A Yogev Ohayon three midway through the third period opened a double-digit margin (38-28) for the first time, but Maccabi couldn’t kill off the game, leading by seven points (45-38) entering the fourth quarter.

Kazan scored the first four points of the final frame to close back within a single possession (45-42), but Maccabi held on to finally bring some cheer to its suffering fans.

In other Israeli basketball news, Hapoel Jerusalem continued its excellent start to 2017 with a 75-67 win over Maccabi Ashdod, improving to a 10-6 record in the BSL with its fourth straight league win, its longest streak this season.

Two days after an impressive 97-81 win over Zenit St. Petersburg kept Jerusalem on track to finish in first place in Eurocup Top 16 Group G, Hapoel registered its seventh win from eight games since the start of the year in a contest brought forward from next week due to Jerusalem’s Eurocup game against Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius on Wednesday.

Tarence Kinsey had 15 points for Jerusalem, which improved to 10-6 in the BSL. Jake Cohen finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds for Ashdod, which lost a third straight game to fall to 5-11.

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