Euroleague: Arroyo scores 19 points, Maccabi wins in France

Team clinches its place in the Euroleague Top 16.

maccabi arroyo 248.88 asaf kliger (photo credit: Asaf Kliger [file])
maccabi arroyo 248.88 asaf kliger
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger [file])
Maccabi Tel Aviv clinched its place in the Euroleague Top 16 and leapfrogged Cibona Zagreb into third position in Group A thanks to a 87-73 victory at Le Mans on Thursday night. Tel Aviv (5-3), which has claimed three straight Euroleague games, was never in any danger of losing in France, led throughout the game and dominated a Le Mans team which is now 0-8 in Europe. Pini Gershon's side ran whenever it could, just like its coach constantly preaches, and caught the hosts napping time and again. Gershon will now have three weeks to continue to reshape his team before its next continental game, with the Euroleague going on a New Year break. Next up for Maccabi is a home game at the Nokia Arena against Nikola Vujcic and Yotam Halperin's Olympiacos on January 8. Carlos Arroyo led Maccabi, scoring 19 points and passing seven assists, with Lior Eliyahu recording a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Omri Casspi also contributed 19 points and Marcus Brown added 14 points. Brian Chase scored 17 points for Le Mans, which also got 12 points and 11 rebounds from Alain Koffi. After a tight first five minutes, Maccabi began to pull ahead, with an Eliyahu basket opening a six-point lead (17-11). A Casspi jumper to finish the first period gave the visitors a 25-16 gap, and Maccabi continued to extend its lead in the second quarter. Casspi's 13th point of the night gave the team a double-digit margin (30-19) and despite Dewarick Spencer's buzzer-beating basket, Tel Aviv led 49-36 at the break. Maccabi remained comfortably in front throughout the second half, always keeping the hosts at a safe distance. Le Mans failed to make any serious inroads into the deficit and Tel Aviv cruised to its easiest victory of the Euroleague season. Maccabi next plays on Monday in the State Cup against Ironi Nahariya.