Maccabi ends Euroleague campaign with loss at Zenit 86-69

Maccabi Tel Aviv fell to Zenit St. Petersburg 86-69 to end their disappointing continental campaign with 14-20 record. The Yellow & Blue got behind early as they went down 25-15 after the first quarter and were never able to recover to get back into the game as Austin Hollins and Tarik Black punished Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad time and time again to keep their playoff chances alive.

Tyler Dorsey led the way for the visitors with 15 points, Chris Jones added 11 points while Elijah Bryant and Scottie Wilbekin each scored 9 points in the loss. Hollins scored 15 points for Xavi Pascual’s team, Kevin Pangos added 13 points and 6 assists as Tarik Black and Will Thomas each scored 11 points in the victory. Should Zenit win their final game against Oded Katash and Panathinaikos they will punch their ticket to the postseason and should they lose Valencia will earn the right to take part in the playoffs.

Maccabi Tel Aviv will now ready for Israeli league action when they visit Hapoel Jerusalem on Monday night in the “Classico”.

“We didn’t start well as Zenit gained a double-digit difference at the end of the first quarter,” explained Sfairopoulos. “In the second quarter, we did a better job on both ends of the court, and at halftime, we said we need to improve our game. The game’s critical point came in the third period, scoring only 11 points while turning the ball 8 times, which led to easy points on the other end. From that point, it was really difficult to stop them. It wasn’t a good season for us, we need to be better and wiser next season.”

Xavi Pascual – Photo Credit:

Coach Pascual reflected on his squad’s win, “I am proud not only tonight, but for all the season. Right now, with this win, we’re close. We have one more game to play. I think we’re having an excellent season. Monday, we’ll have another final. But tonight’s game was perfect, from defense to offense and how we approached the game, everything. But Monday will be another game. From tomorrow, we have to start the preparation and be ready for the game, nothing else.”

Maccabi’s leading scorer Tyler Dorsey spoke about his team’s loss, “We couldn’t pull it together. They are a good team, and all game long, we couldn’t get defensive stops. We’ve got to keep moving, getting ready for the Israeli League and State Cup Finals. It wasn’t our year in the Euroleague this season. It’s been a rough year.”

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