Maccabi Tel Aviv downed ASVEL Villeurbanne 85-67 to take yet another step towards the Euroleague postseason. With the victory, the yellow-and-blue won their fourth game in a row for the first time of the season as Oded Katash’s team looks to be coming into its own just at the right time of the campaign.
The Maccabi trio of Wade Baldwin. Lorenzo Brown and Bonzie Colson controlled the pace of play throughout the game while Nando De Colo, David Lighty and Amine Noua kept the contest close for the first half before the yellow-and-blue pulled away to take the win.
“Every game is like a final until the end and it’s very tight,” Katash said following the game. “We spoke at halftime about our defense and we tightened it up, I really liked how we played in the second half and this was a very important win for us.”
“First half was okay, but in the second half, we played too much by ourselves,” Villeurbanne coach TJ Parker said. “We isolated the ball too much, froze the ball too much, and when a team plays a switching defense on us we’ve got to be much better than that.”
The game MVP Wade Baldwin said, “It was a very good game. This is a very tough ASVEL team. They’re French champions, they’ve been battling hard this entire year. It’s a tough place to play, they have a lot of energy.”
Nando De Colo and David Lighty lit it up for Villeurbanne but Bonzie Colson, Wade Baldwin and Josh Nebo responded for Maccabi Tel Aviv to even up the score at 22-22 at the end of the first quarter. Amine Noua and Youssapha Fall found points for the hosts while Lorenzo Brown and Wade Baldwin hit their shots to keep the yellow-and-blue in front 46-43 at halftime.
Baldwin, Brown and Colson continued to pace Oded Katash’s crew during the third quarter to bump their lead up to 68-59 while the same trio continued to pour it on in the final frame while the defense tightened up to hold the hosts to just 8 points which allowed Maccabj to cruise to the win.
Hapoel Jerusalem defeated Strasbourg 71-63 to clinch first place in their Champions League group to give the Reds home court advantage in the best of 3 quarterfinal round. Aleksandar Dzikic’s squad, who won their 12th game across all competitions, took a 22-15 lead after the first quarter and never looked back to advance to the competition’s Top 8.
Next up will be the quarterfinal draw on Friday which will determine Jerusalem’s opponent and will be one of the following teams, Murcia, Manresa or AEK.
Khadeen Carrington led the way with 16 points, Zach Hankins added 13 points while Levi Randolph who was injured late in the game scored 11 points in the win. Marcus Keene paced the hosts with 20 points in the loss.
Hapoel Tel Aviv continued their fine EuroCup campaign with a 87-76 win over Slask Wrocław to move to 12-5 on the season. Jordan McRae paced the Reds with 17 points, J’Covan Brown added 16 points while Xavier Munford chipped in with 14 points in the win. Jeremiah Martin led the hosts with 21 points.
“We came here to a game that was important to us in our effort to stay as close to the top of the group as possible,” Hapoel coach Danny Franco explained. “Slask played very well today but we tightened our defense in the second half. It helped us make a run and build a lead that we were able to protect and increase until the end. We are having a great second round [of the regular season] in the EuroCup, our results are great and we are very happy with that. We’ll keep on going as much as we can and keep on dreaming as long as we can.”
Xavier Munford also reflected about the win, “It was a must-win for us heading into the playoffs. We came here focused tonight because Slask are a good team. It feels good to come away with a victory.”
Hapoel Holon got by JDA Dijon 88-81 in overtime to finish off their BCL campaign on a positive note. Manny Harris led the way with 25 points while Javin DeLaurier and CJ Harris each scored 15 points in the win. Matt Mobley scored 17 points in the defeat.