Maccabi Tel Aviv's Lior Eliyahu 370.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv’s hopes of reaching the Euroleague quarterfinals are still
alive, but only just.
Maccabi edged Caja Laboral Vitoria 66-62 on
Thursday night to improve to 4-5 in Top 16 Group F with its third win in its
past four continental games.
The tight and tense affair was far from
pretty viewing, but Maccabi won’t care one bit after toughing out a crucial
Devin Smith had 20 points for Maccabi, with David Logan scoring 16
and Shawn James adding 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Maciej Lampe had 19
points for Vitoria, which lost its fifth straight game.
After hitting 12
of 20 three-point attempts in last week’s win over Siena, Maccabi began
Thursday’s game with a futile bombardment from beyond the arc, missing its first
eight long-range efforts.
In fact, Maccabi only connected on one of its
first 10 shots, but Caja was just as inaccurate, with each team scoring just six
points in the first six minutes of the showdown.
Tel Aviv held an 11-10
lead after one of its worst quarters in the Euroleague this season and was ahead
by five points (22-17) after Logan sunk a three with six minutes remaining in
the first half.
However, a 14-4 run by Vitoria gave it the edge (31- 28)
at halftime and a turnaround jumper by Lampe saw the hosts extend the gap to
seven points (35-28) at the start of the second half.
Caja was well placed to surge ahead, but Maccabi never lost touch, with a Smith three tying the score at 41-41 with 2:46 to play in the third period.
Vitoria’s final six points of the quarter to give the Spaniards a 47-43
advantage to start the fourth frame, but Maccabi would begin the final quarter
with a 7-0 run, with a three-point play by James followed by Logan free throws
giving Tel Aviv a 50-47 lead.
Vitoria immediately tied the score and the
game would be decided in the final minute.
Logan hit a clutch three with
24 seconds left to give Maccabi a 64-62 margin and the yellow-and-blue held on
to fight another day.