“We just want to win” – Maccabi Tel Aviv took out Darussafaka 77-58 to move their record to 11-13 in Euroleague play. The Yellow & Blue raced out to an early lead and never looked back as Tarik Black with 17 points and 8 rebounds and Alex Tyus with 12 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocked dominated play to take the victory.
Black came out on fire for Maccabi as his 11 points gave the Yellow & Blue a 18-10 lead after ten minutes of action. Michael Roll got onto a roll of his own in the second quarter with ten points to extend the host’s lead to 38-23.
Black continued his fine play and Johnny O’Bryant added 5 points as Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad held a 57-41 advantage after thirty minutes. Tyus and John DiBartolomeo controlled the pace in the 4th quarter while Deni Avdija scored his first Euroleague points with a triple at the end of the game to give Maccabi the 77-58 win.
Tarik Black and Alex Tyus both had excellent games and provided Maccabi Tel Aviv with a very good 1-2 punch both offensively and defensively inside the paint. Black began the game of well dominating the opening quarter while Tyus finished off the game strong with a superb 4th quarter. “Good win, to play in front of our home crowd was good. I come out and do what I can to help the team get the win, commented Tyus following the win. Coach Sfairopoulos also spoke about the importance of the two big guys but also looked to the other players to provide the best that they can, “Both of our big guys were great and I am very happy for that. We need both of them to play the same way with a high level performance. I expect all of the players will push themselves now with our mind, concentration and fighting spirit so the team will fight for the games ahead in this crucial month.”
2) The crowd chanted for Deni and that’s what we got for the final 4:05 of the game; Deni Avdija. It was the first time since Gameday 9 and Fenerbahce that Avdija played a home Euroleague game. With Kendrick Ray being loaned out, minutes opened up and Avdija was the beneficiary. Coach Sfairpolpus talked about how Avdija needs to progress, “Deni is a big prospect and we are happy he is growing. He has to establish his game at a high level team like Maccabi and he has to take good steps ahead. I have worked with a lot of young players like Yovel Zoosman and Deni but he has to go step by step, stay humble and continue to work. He has a big future in front of him.” Jake Cohen also talked about Avdija and playing with him both at Maccabi and with the Israel National Team, “I’m happy for Deni. He works really hard and he brings a lot of good energy. He’s a good kid and I want the best for him. As for the National teams when we were in Serbia it was cool to be playing with Deni in a different role.” DeAndre Kane has the last word about Avdija, “He’s my boy.”
3) Maccabi has a very busy week ahead and are playing 4 games in 8 days, two Euroleague games which will be the bookends for a pair of Israel Winner League games. The players are not exactly thrilled with having two contests so close to a critical and perhaps most important Euroleague game at Bayern Munich. Alex Tyus was first, “The Israeli League keeps giving us two games before EuroLeague. I don’t know whether they are doing that in any other country. I never had to do that. That’s unfortunate. But we just have to be focused on these games and not think too far ahead.” Jake Cohen also shared his thoughts on the matter, “Someone once said that’s the life of Maccabi. We have a tough week ahead but we will come up tougher and better after this week.” Kane also chimed in, “It’s really important. But I think that we are playing too many Israeli League games in this time period where we have important EuroLeague games. That’s how the league is and it’s OK I guess.” Finally, Coach Sfairopoulos weighted in on the matter, “I respect the Israeli league. I am the only coach that wears a tie and that’s because I have respect for the league. I know that the people do the best for for the league and it is at a good level. Every team can win or lose. With all my experience of 32 years, it’s the only league where we have to play back to back game between European basketball games which I think is something that needs to be changed.”
Everyone was happy to record the win and really take Darussafaka out of the game very, very early. Tyus talked about the victory, “Good win, to play in front of our home crowd was good. I come out and do what I can to help the team get the win.” Cohen has the same sentiments, “Feels great and knew it wasn’t going to be easy. The 9-0 run set the tone to the rest of the game.” Kane also discussed the game, “It’s always good to get wins especially in this part of the season. We just approach every game the same. We just want to win.”