Mac TA 224.88.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv returned to Israel with mixed emotions on Friday morning after failing to secure a top seed in the upcoming Euroleague top-16 draw, despite recording a 101-94 overtime win over Aris Thessaloniki on Thursday.
Tel Aviv needed Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius (86-79 winners over Cibona Zagreb) or Real Madrid (95-89 winners over Panathinaikos) to lose on Thursday to be a first seed, but will now have to settle for being a No. 2 seed in Monday's draw.
A tight first half in Thessaloniki ended in a 45-43 Maccabi lead after Derrick Sharp's buzzer-beating three-pointer.
The second half was controlled by the visitors, but Jeremiah Massey's basket from an offensive rebound in the final seconds of regulation tied the score (86-86) and sent the encounter into an extra five minutes.
Tel Aviv dominated the overtime and eventually cruised to its fifth straight Euroleague victory.
Marcus Fizer led Maccabi with 28 points and 11 rebounds, with Terence Morris adding 13 points and nine rebounds.
"It was an amazing basketball game. All of us played at a very high tempo and proved that we're really mature by taking the right decisions in the crucial moments of the game," Fizer said.
"I hope we will build on this performance and keep winning in the Top 16 group."
Maccabi coach Tzvika Sherf, who has still yet to lose since replacing Oded Katash, said: "First of all, we controlled the tempo of the game. We used our inside advantage with Marcus Fizer perfectly. He played his best game of the whole season tonight.
"Additionally, both Morris and Batista gave huge help to cover for the unexpected loss of Nikola Vujcic one hour before the game.
"Even though we controlled the game, we made some mistakes, which we have to avoid in the future, and Aris forced us into extra time.
"In the overtime, we played very well and took very mature decisions that helped us to a very important win here in Alexandreio.
"Now, it's time to await the draw and prepare ourselves for the new challenge - to qualify for the last eight," he added.
In other Euroleague news, former Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Pini Gershon was sacked by Greek giant Olympiacos on Saturday after a poor run of results.
Gershon, who joined the club last year, finished the Euroleague regular season with three straight losses that relegated the team to fifth place in Group A. Gershon's Israeli assistant Erez Edelstein was also fired.