Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Sonny Weems was limited to just six points last night, but four of his points came in the final two minutes, helping the yellow-and-blue to a 74-73 win at Unics Kazan..
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv moved back to .500 in the Euroleague with its second win in three days on Thursday, edging Unics Kazan 74-73 in Russia to improve to 4-4.
Maccabi wasn’t as impressive as it was in Tuesday’s 87-77 victory over Fenerbahce Istanbul, but it did just enough to beat Kazan, even without Andrew Goudelock, who was a late scratch for a second straight game due to an ankle sprain.
The yellow-and-blue took an early lead and remained in front until midway through the fourth quarter. The hosts fought back with a 13-2 run to start the final frame, but Maccabi was the more composed team in the closing stages, with Sonny Weems hitting the go-ahead basket and Keith Langford’s three-pointer at the buzzer of little consolation for Kazan.
“We weren’t at our best, but we played hard and played good defense and I think that got us the win,” said Maccabi coach Rami Hadar.
Devin Smith led Maccabi with 16 points, while Colton Iverson and D.J.
Seeley added 12 and 11 points, respectively. Weems had just six points.
Langford scored 22 points for Kazan, which fell to 2-6.
“We did a really good job limiting what they do well,” said Smith.
“The last two games our attitude has improved a lot. We are battling. All these teams are good teams so to come and get a win here is great.”
Maccabi got off to a flying start on Thursday, opening a 25-12 lead with a minute to play in the first quarter. Tel Aviv should have taken a double-digit cushion into the second quarter, but lost momentum when Yogev Ohayon turned the ball over in the team’s final possession of the period and then foolishly gifted Keith Langford three free throws with an unnecessary foul.
Langford’s first points of the night brought Kazan within eight points (25-17) and the hosts scored the first six points of the second period to cut the deficit to 25-23.
It took Maccabi more than three minutes to score its first points of the quarter, and while it never trailed in the first half, it held just a three-point edge (41-38) at the break.
Maccabi maintained a slender gap throughout the third period, but crucially scored the final six points of the frame to take a seven-point advantage (61-54) into the final 10 minutes.
The visitors were well placed, but were outplayed in the first six minutes of the quarter. Kazan went on a 13-2 run, taking the lead for the first time (67-63).
Tel Aviv was in trouble, but stopped the rot with two straight three-pointers.
Langford tied the score at the other end (69-69), but Weems scored the go-ahead basket with two minutes to play and his jumper with 41 seconds remaining gave Maccabi a four-point lead (73-69) it wouldn’t relinquish.