Midway through the second quarter, many Maccabi Tel Aviv fans were thinking of ways to dump their reservations for the Final Four next month in Prague. But by the end of the night, they were celebrating another thrilling come-from-behind win.
Down 18 in the second quarter, the two-time defending Euroleague champs stormed back for an 84-74 win over Ulker Istanbul on Thursday night at Nokia Arena.
Jamie Arnold matched his season-high with 20 points - nine in the decisive fourth quarter - and added 10 rebounds to lead Maccabi.
The big man, who was granted Israeli citizenship earlier in the week, said, "We got down a little but were able to come back. It seems like we like the drama... We're gonna work hard to make sure that doesn't keep happening."
Maccabi bounced back from last week's 15-point defeat at Real Madrid to improve to 1-1 in Group E of the Top 16 before next week's showdown in Italy at Climamio Bologna.
Ibrahim Kutluay made five threes and paced the Ulker attack with 23 points, and Marcus Haislip added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
"I knew they couldn't continue to score at 60 percent, so I wasn't too worried when they led in the second quarter," said Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Pini Gershon.
After Yaniv Green, starting for the first time this season, put Tel Aviv ahead early, Maccabi didn't lead again until the fourth quarter. But Ulker seemed to fall apart with the game on the line, scoring just 12 points in the fourth quarter as Maccabi pulled away.
Maceo Baston put Maccabi ahead with the first basket of the fourth quarter. After Kutluay tied things at 65, Will Solomon drilled a three to spark an 11-2 run that put the hosts in control for good.
"For three quarters, the game was how we wanted it," Ulker coach Ergin Ataman said. "But in the fourth, we missed easy shots and gave up too many offensive rebounds... I don't like to attack my players, but Mirsad Turkcan gave us nothing tonight. If he gave us five more rebounds, we would have won."
Turkcan, one of the best rebounders in Euroleague history, finished with five points and two rebounds in 21 minutes.
Allon Sinai contributed to this report.
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