Maccabi thrashes Roma for 1st Top-16 win

Tel Aviv leaves Barcelona loss behind, romps to easy 99-58 home victory.

JEREMY PARGO 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv bounced back from last week’s loss at Barcelona in dominating fashion on Thursday night, thrashing Lottomatica Roma 99-58 at Nokia Arena to improve its record to 1-1 in Group F of the Euroleague Top 16.
Maccabi saw its nine-game continental winning streak snapped with the 81- 71 defeat in Barcelona, but completely outplayed its Italian opponent on Thursday, improving to 6-0 at Nokia in European play this season.
Maccabi, which hosts Olimpija Ljubljana next week, has won its home games by an average margin of 21.2 points per game and all but clinched Thursday’s victory by halftime.
Roma had no answer to Tel Aviv’s suffocating defense, resulting in easy points at the other end and a 26-point cushion at the break (57-31).
Sofoklis Schortsanitis led Maccabi with 19 points and 10 rebounds, with Lior Eliyahu scoring 18, Jeremy Pargo adding 16 and Doron Perkins contributing his usual versatile line, scoring nine points, gathering seven rebounds, dishing nine assists and recording three steals.
“It looked easy but it wasn’t,” Sofo said. “The entire team came to play and the final score shows that.”
Vladimir Dasic had 13 points for Roma, which was outrebounded 50-28 by Tel Aviv.
Maccabi got the game off to a flying start, racing to a 7-0 run within the first 40 seconds of the game.
A three-point play by Sofo was followed by a Perkins steal and an Eliyahu layup, with Chuck Eidson capping the surge with a jumper.
However, Roma refused to go down without a fight, at least initially, with a three-point play by Dasic bringing the visitors within two points (11-9).
The Italians would come no closer though, with Maccabi all but securing the win by the start of the second quarter.
Pargo caught fire in the closing stages of the first period, scoring eight straight points to end the frame as part of a 12-3 surge which put the hosts in a commanding 30-18 lead after just 10 minutes.
Tel Aviv needed less than two second quarter minutes to open an unassailable margin.
A stunning Pargo dunk was followed by threes from Guy Pnini and Perkins, extending the gap to 19 points (39-20) in no time.
The margin would only continue to grow after that, reaching the 30-point mark (57-27) before Roma limited the damage slightly to go into the break down by 26 points (57-31).
The second half was pure garbage time, allowing Maccabi coach David Blatt to give each of his players (except Yaniv Green) some court time ahead of the tougher challenges that are sure to come.
In BSL action Thursday, Maccabi Haifa fell to its 11th league defeat in its past 12 games, losing 77-73 at home to Hapoel Holon.
Rich Melzer scored 19 points for Holon, which snapped a three-game losing streak. Sylven Landesberg had 19 points for Haifa, which remained bottom of the standings with a 3-12 record.