Maccabi Tel Aviv came up short in Athens and fell to Panathinaikos 88-86 as former Yellow & Blue forward Derrick Williams hit the game winning 3-pointer to take the win. Bonzie Colson’s 29-point performance went to waste as Oded Katash’s squad played from behind most of the game but grabbed a late 86-85 lead until Williams’ heroics put the hosts in front for good. Wade Baldwin missed a last gasp chance to send the game into overtime when his jumper hit the iron and bounced off the rim as Maccabi’s recored moved to 10-9 good for 9th place and out of a playoff spot as they will now ready for a State Cup quarterfinal contest against Bnei Herzliya.
Paris Lee paced the hosts with 21 points, while Dwayne Bacon scored 19 points and Williams finished with 17 points in the win. Colson scored 29 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, Baldwin added 21 points and Lorenzo Brown scored 11 points in the loss.
“Congratulations to the players for this game and for this win” Panathinakos coach Dejan Radonjic said. “In this moment for us, it was a big win, and an important one. We had a good defense [on] the last possession. One more very interesting game. It was a big fight for all 40 minutes. In the end, we won.”
“You have to give them credit, they hit some tough shots in the end,” Katash commented. “But we kept fighting, we were there, we were close. We almost turned the game around, but in the end it came down to one or two plays. They hit some tough shots. Too bad. Obviously, when a game finishes like this, everybody is thinking about the last shot, but in a way we lost the game in the first half. We came out flat in the first quarter; we were not aggressive enough; we let them run their system easily; we did not really bother them.”
Derrick Williams spoke about the win, ”Nate [Wolters] had a nice drive to the paint [and] found me on the wing [for the game-winning shot]. I’m just happy I made it, I’m happy we got a win. We haven’t had a win in a while, so it is always good to get a win. Against Fenerbahce the other day was a bad ending for us; we came back, recharged. I am just glad we got a win.”
Bonzie Colson looked back at the game, “Tough loss, we fought until the end. We couldn’t get some key stops. We got to learn and shot to win from this and get better. Basketball is a game of runs and we went on one late but they executed and we couldn’t get stops when we needed to.”