Maccabi Tel Aviv downed Olympiacos 84-69 to finally get back onto the winning track and break their 8 game losing streak. Ante Zizic dominated the paint throughout the 40 minutes, Keenan Evans, Angelo Caloiaro and Scottie Wilbekin all scored timely baskets in the third quarter while the team defense which committed only 4 turnovers clamped down on the Greek squad in the second half to take the win.
Zizic poured in 23 points from inside the paint going 10/12 while Maccabi shot a solid 38% from deep going 8/21 from beyond the arc with Wilbekin checking in with three of them compared to Olympiacos’s 27% from downtown.
Next up will be an Israeli League Derby at Hapoel Tel Aviv on Sunday night followed up by a pair of home Euroleague matchups against Alba Berlin and Fenerbahce.
Zizic led all scorers with 23 points, Evans added 14 points and Wilbekin chipped in with 13 points in the win. Georgios Printezis scored 13 points, former Maccabi guard Tyler Dorsey checked in with 12 points and Shaquielle McKissic scored 9 points in the loss.
“We are very happy to celebrate club’s the 90th anniversary along with the careers of two very important coaches,” Maccabi coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos began. “I’m happy that we won after 8 losses but we also played the way I wanted the team tp play. We held one of the best offense’s to only 69 points and it was very important that we played well offensively and that our defense held them to no points in the first 6 minutes of the fourth quarter.”
“I want to congratulate Maccabi and they had a lot of desire,” Olympiacos Coach Georgios Bartzikas said. “We didn’t play the way we wanted and we didn’t deserve to win. We didn’t make fouls when necessary, hustle and the 50/50 balls.”
The game MVP Ante Zizic was all smiles after the win, “I want to congratulate the entire team and staff for the win. We scored will on offense and my teammates found me for good chances in the paint. This was an important win.”
Kostas Papanikolau and Ante Zizic traded baskets to get the first quarter underway and Scottie Wilbekin went from way, way downtown to give Maccabi Tel Aviv an 8-2 lead midway through the period. Papanikolau scored on the inside and the outside, Angelo Caloiaro and Zizic answered but Sasha Vezenkov, Shaquielle McKissic and Tyler Dorsey pulled Olympiacos to 19-16 after ten minutes of play.
Georgios Printezis drilled home a corner 3-ball to begin the second quarter, Wilbekin and Derrick Williams responded but McKissic nailed a pair of triples to put Georgios Bartzokas’s in front 28-23 with 5:54 remaining in the half. John Dibartolomeo and James Nunnally went from deep, Zizic put in a trio of buckets retake the lead 40-38 at halftime.
Thomas Walkup scored a 3-pointer to begin the third quarter, Keenan Evans matched him at the other end, Zizic put the hammer down on an alley-oop as Evans continued to fill the basket to open up a 51-43 lead midway through the frame. Walkup dropped in a floater, Vezenkov scored as well, Jalen Reynolds found points inside and Nunnally put home a corner 3-pointer, but Moustapha Fall and Kostas Sloukas answered right back, however, Wilbekin and Reynolds scored to take a 66-56 lead into the final frame.
Evans started off the fourth quarter with a dunk off a steal, Reynolds followed that up with a jam of his own to extend the Maccabi lead to 72-57 with 5:19 remaining in regulation time. Fall found points as did Dorsey but Wilbekin came right back down court with a pair of triples and sealed the deal to get Maccabi back into the win column.