Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Norris Cole.
(photo credit: UDI ZITIAT)
Maccabi Tel Aviv snapped its Euroleague road drought with its best offensive display of the season on Friday night, beating Olimpia Milano 111-102 in Italy Maccabi won the highest-scoring Euroleague game in more than five years, improving to 11-9 in the standings and tying Khimki Moscow for seventh place.
Perhaps even more importantly, it also maintained a two game lead over Baskonia Vitoria in ninth place, as the battle for a top-eight finish and a place in the playoffs heats up with 10 regular season games to play.
Maccabi led almost from start to finish, but held just a seven- point cushion (57-50) at the break. A 10-0 run, with eight of the points coming from Pierre Jackson, established a 15-point gap (67-52) and Maccabi was in control with 10 minutes to play (83-70). Milano closed to within four points (102-98), but the yellow- and-blue held on for its first road win since defeating Khimki in Moscow on November 16.
Maccabi had lost its previous five road games against Barcelona, CSKA Moscow, Panathinaikos, Real Madrid and Olympiacos by an average 18.4 points per contest.
Norris Cole led six Maccabi players in double figures with 19 points, with Deshaun Thomas adding 18 and Jackson finishing with 16 for Tel Aviv, which shot 63.3 percent (31-of-49) from two-point range, 64.3% (9-of-14) from three and 84.6% (22-of-26) from the free-throw line. It was the second-highest scoring total ever by Maccabi in a Euroleague road game and its best total overall since netting 113 against AEK Athens on December 2, 2004.
Jordan Theodore had 22 points for Milano, which fell to 6-14.
Maccabi will be back in action on Sunday when it visits Maccabi Haifa in BSL play. Tel Aviv is aiming to bounce back from the surprise 94-91 defeat to Hapoel Gilboa/Galil last Saturday and is hoping to regain consistency in local play, going 3-3 over its past six games to fall to 11-3 overall.
Haifa would happily trade troubles with the yellow-andblue.
Last year’s finalist has lost five games in a row to fall to 4-10, with its last victory coming on December 13 against Bnei Herzliya, the only team currently below it in the standings.
Herzliya (3-11) hosts Ironi Nahariya (6-8) on Sunday, with Hapoel Holon (10-4) visiting Gilboa (8-6).
On Monday, Hapoel Jerusalem (10-4) goes to Maccabi Ashdod (7-7) and Maccabi Rishon Lezion (6-8) hosts Ironi Ness Ziona (5-9).
On Saturday, Hapoel Tel Aviv combined three straight BSL wins for the first time this season, beating Hapoel Eilat 86-74 on the road. Jerel McNeal had 18 points for Tel Aviv, which improved to 9-6.
Amit Simhon scored 23 for Eilat, which fell to 6-9.