Maccabi TA falls to tough defeat vs Efes

Yellow-and-blue back to .500 in Euroleague after failing to capitalize at home against Istanbul.

December 2, 2016 00:36
2 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Andrew Goudelock

Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Andrew Goudelock. (photo credit: DANNY MARON)

Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Euroleague winning streak ended in disappointing fashion on Thursday night with an 86-77 defeat to Efes Istanbul at Yad Eliyahu Arena.

Maccabi entered the game brimming with confidence and as a firm favorite after winning its previous three continental contests to improve to a 5-4 record. However, Tel Aviv dropped back to .500 following a sloppy performance.

The yellow-and-blue committed a season-high 21 turnovers, while also allowing the Turks to take 13 offensive rebounds. A Devin Smith three-pointer gave Maccabi the lead (73-72) with five minutes to play, but Efes would outscore the hosts 14-4 to end the game and improve to 5-5.

After struggling on defense at the start of its campaign, allowing an average 93.3 points in its first three Euroleague contests, Maccabi had shown a significant improvement under coach Rami Hadar. Tel Aviv had limited its opponents to 74.3 points over the previous three games, but returned to its bad habits on Thursday.

Devin Smith and Maik Zirbes scored 13 points each for Maccabi.

Derrick Brown had 22 points for Efes, with Tyler Honeycutt scoring 21 points.

Maccabi began the game by hitting its first four three-point attempts, with Yogev Ohayon’s triple opening a 16-12 lead. Efes was never too far behind though and took a one-point edge (21- 20) into the second quarter.

There was nothing to separate the teams with four minutes to play in the half (32-32), but what had been a low-scoring affair changed in the closing minutes, and the visitors had a seven- point cushion (47-40) at the break.

Maccabi hit 8-of-15 two-point attempts (53.3%) and 7-of-12 threepoint shots (58.3%) in the first half, but still found itself in a hole after committing 12 turnovers and allowing Istanbul to grab eight offensive rebounds.

That gave the Turks eight more fieldgoal attempts and seven additional free-throw shots, with Efes going 11-of- 11 from the line.

Maccabi’s top three scorers in the competition, Andrew Goudelock, Sonny Weems and Devin Smith combined for only 10 points in the first half, and while the latter scored the team’s first points after the interval, that basket only came after more than two minutes.

Thomas Heurtel’s basket midway through the third frame kept Efes in control (53-45), but Maccabi responded with an 11-2 run, to take its first lead of the second half (56-55).

It was anyone’s game heading into the final 10 minutes, with the score tied at 63-63. The lead would go back and forth in the fourth period, with Smith’s three putting Maccabi in front (73-72) with five minutes remaining.

After missing his first five three-point attempts of the night, Tyler Honeycutt found his range and sunk two straight triple to put the visitors in the driving seat (78-73). Efes never lost the lead, handing Maccabi a painful loss.

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