Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Yogev Ohayon (right) equaled his Euroleague career-high with 19 points in last night’s 87-77 win over Fenerbahce Istanbul and Bobby Dixon..
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv kick-started its Euroleague campaign with its best performance of the season to date on Tuesday night, beating Fenerbahce Istanbul 87-77 at Yad Eliyahu Arena to improve to 3-4.
With two home losses already to its name and just two wins from its first six games in the competition, Maccabi was in desperate need of a victory on Tuesday.
Tel Aviv entered the game on the back of two straight losses, falling to Panathinaikos in the Euroleague last week before losing to Bnei Herzliya on Saturday for its first defeat in BSL action.
The yellow-and-blue was also playing without Andrew Goudelock, as well as Sylven Landesberg, but it bounced back in impressive fashion, surging ahead at the start of the fourth quarter for a prestigious win over legendary coach Zeljko Obradovic and the team he led to last season’s Euroleague final.
Maccabi will have little time to celebrate the win, already leaving for Russia on Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s game at Unics Kazan.
Sonny Weems led Maccabi with 22 points, 14 of them in the third quarter, with Yogev Ohayon adding 19 points and Devin Smith scoring 15 for the winners, which shot 28-of-43 from two-point range (65.1%).
Ekpe Udoh had 17 points for Fenerbahce, which fell to 4-3 with its third straight loss.
Maccabi got off to a slow start on Tuesday, but seven straight points by Ohayon tied the score (15-15) late in the first period.
Ohayon’s previous high in the Euroleague this season was just six points, but he made the most of his increased role in the offense in Goudelock’s absence, ending the first half with 10 points on 4-of-4 from the field.
Devin Smith also found his range in the second period, scoring eight consecutive points as part of an 11-0 Maccabi run which gave the hosts an eight-point cushion (37-29).
The yellow-and-blue saw its lead reduced to four points (43-39) by the break and Weems’ 14 points in the third quarter ensured it remained in front. The gap reached double-digits (64-54) with just under two minutes to play in the quarter, but Fenerbahce limited the damage by the end of the frame, entering the fourth period down by just six points (66-60). However, a 10-0 run in the first 3:10 minutes of the final quarter secured Maccabi’s win to the delight of the local fans.
Also Tuesday, Ironi Nahariya registered its first win in the FIBA Champions League, improving to 1-4 in Group A with a 76-61 win over Slovenian team Domzale. Yancy Gates had 24 points and eight rebounds for Nahaiya. On Wednesday, Maccabi Rishon Lezion (2-2) welcomes Avtodor Saratov in Group B action.