Maccabi Tel Aviv BC gave fans in Chicago plenty to cheer about in an 85-79 victory over Italian powerhouse Armani Milano at the United Center on Thursday. Maccabi remains unbeaten in the preseason after kicking off its American tour with the win.
While the game was meant to showcase Maccabi to a new set of fans, longtime supporters were watching closely to evaluate the new talent the Yellow and Blue assembled for the upcoming season. Jordan Farmar was the most recognizable face on the court between the two teams, but there were plenty of other star performances to go around.
Appropriately for a game in the Midwest, a matchup pitting two former Big Ten players against one another was a major storyline as Robbie Hummel of Purdue and Trevor Mbakwe of Minnesota faced off.
It was Trevor Mbakwe who had the better start, scoring eight first quarter points and helping Maccabi race out to a 29-11 lead. But Robbie Hummel started to get going alongside Italian native Alessandro Gentile to make it a respectable 46-40 score line at halftime. The game remained tight in the second half, until eventually Maccabi put together another big run and held on for the win. Mbakwe and Hummel both finished with 15 points.
Other key contributors for the Yellow and Blue were Sylven Landesberg, Vitor Faverani, and Dragan Bender with 12, 11, and 10 points respectively. Jordan Farmar fell three points, two rebounds, and two assists short of a triple double in a balanced performance. Brian Randle impressed, chipping in 15 points. Randle, and Maccabi, are hoping for a much better outcome in his return to the club following his release from Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar.
Milano will have a chance for revenge in the second game of the series on Sunday when the teams travel to New York’s Madison Square Garden.