Maccabi falls to Zalgiris 73-68: 19-0 second half run dooms Yellow & Blue

Maccabi Tel Aviv fell to Zalgiris 73-68 in Lithuania as their Euroleague record dropped to 11-6 with the defeat. The Yellow & Blue controlled the first half limiting the hosts to just 29 points, but a 19-0 run between the third and fourth quarters by Zalgiris gave Sarunas Jasikevicius’s squad the win.

Jake Cohen notched his Euroleague career high with 20 points, Tyler Dorsey scored 18 points while Elijah Bryant added 9 points in the loss. Lukas Lekavicius led all scorers with 23 points while going 4/6 from beyond the arc as Arturas Milaknis, Zach LeDay and Edgaras Ulanovas each added 10 points in the win.

Maccabi Tel Aviv scored a trio of triples from Quincy Acy, Tyler Dorsey and Yovel Zoosman as the Yellow & Blue grabbed a 13-8 lead over Zalgiris midway through the first quarter. Jake Cohen dropped 8 points over the first ten minutes while Martinas Geben featured for the hosts as Maccabi took a 21-17 advantage into the second quarter.

Arturas Milaknis, Edgaras Ulanovas and Lukas Lekavicius all scored for Sarunas Jasikevicius squad to take a 25-23 lead with 7:17 remaining in the half. But another Dorsey 3-pointer plus points by newcomer Jalen Reynolds put Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad out in front 34-29 after twenty minutes of play.

Dorsey and Elijah Bryant each drilled home triples but Lekavicius and Nigel Hayes scored as well but Maccabi held the upper hand 44-34 midway through the third quarter. Another 3-pointer by Bryant, along with points by Jake Cohen looked to put the Yellow & Blue into the drivers seat but Lekavicius and KC Rivers brought Zalgiris all the way back to pull even at 53-53 by the end of the frame.

Zalgiris continued scoring at will to start the 4th quarter and completed an 19-0 run with six more points by Lekavicius to take a 61-53 lead with 7:15 remaining in regulation time. Cohen began to take the bull by the horns to get Maccabi back into the game while Dorsey scored as well to get the Yellow & Blue to within 2-points 67-65 with under three minutes left. However, a number of poor possessions by Maccabi and points by Lekavicius gave Zalgiris a 73-68 win.

1) Zalgiris killed Maccabi with a 19-0 run between the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarters as Lukas Lekavicius led the way for Saras’s squad. Whatever Maccabi tried to do came up short as Coach Sfairopoulos couldn’t find an answer to stop the bleeding. The Yellow & Blue looked to have the game under control after a masterful defensive performance in the first half conceding only 29 points but Luke Skywalker as Rick Pitino coined Lekavicius when he played for him at Panathinaikos was just plain and simple unstoppable. Tyler Dorsey spoke about the defeat, “We had a good first half but then we had a stretch in the third quarter where we had some mental mistakes defensively and didn’t have a rhythm on offense and that just continued into the fourth. We played our hearts out but the game was in our hands and we let it slip away.”

2) Maccabi found out right before the game that they would be without Othello Hunter and Scottie Wilbekin to go along with the already injured Nate Wolters, John DiBartolomeo, Omri Casspi abs Tarik Black. In case the new recruits Aaron Jackson and Jalen Reynolds who definitely need more time to get into the swing of things as the pair did not impress in their debuts. Jackson scored 2-points while going 0/4 from field and was a -25 while Reynolds had 4 points and 7 rebounds but committed 4 turnovers and was a -15. Obviously they were not going to be playing in their tip top form but the will need to get there very quickly as Maccabi needs able bodied players fast with yet another road game on the docket next week. “We had two guys go down before the game and everyone knows how important those guys are,” explained acting captain Jake Cohen. “We had Jackson and Reynolds but they were just coming off the plane to play which was a difficult situation and they deserve a lot of credit for running the offenses.”

3) Maccabi tried to run down the shot clock each and every possession of the game and it worked for the first half, but once Zalgiris got on a roll it created problems for the Yellow & Blue to continue with the game plan. Coach Sfairopoulos’s crew were able to follow the directions until Saras’s squad broke through to take control of the contest, “We fought really hard and gave our best,l said Sfairopoulos. “As long as we controlled the rhythm of the game we were up. But for 2-3 minutes we lost our concentration and Zalgiris was able to take advantage of that playing at home and they scored and got the lead. We missed some easy baskets at the end but on one side I’m not half that we lost but on the other I’m happy how the players fought.”

There were a number of games in the Israeli league over the last couple of days and you can find the recaps and highlights below:

Hapoel Jerusalem recovered from a poor first quarter to take a 94-86 win over Hapoel Beer Sheva at the southern capital. Oded Katash’s squad committed 11 turnovers during the first ten minutes but solid play by Bar Timor, James Feldeine, Tashawn Thomas, Nimrod Levi and J’Covan Brown over the final three frames helped the Reds to the victory.

James Feldeine & Tashawn Thomas each dropped 18 points, Bar Timor added 17 points, Nimrod Levi scored 14 points and 9 rebounds while J’Covan Brown scored 11 points, dished out 16 assists, grabbed 7 rebounds and picked it 2 steals in the win. Amit Simhon led Beer Sheva with 21 points, John Petrucelli added 19 points and Steve Zack chipped in with 16 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.

Hapoel Holon sunk Hapoel Eilat 90-85 thanks to a solid third quarter that saw the hosts come all the away back from being own by close to twenty points earlier in the game. Stefanos Dedas won his first game in charge of Holon as Captain Shlomi Harush led the way with 21 points. TJ Cline added 19 points, Guy Pnini added 18 points and Marcus Foster chipped in with 16 points in the win. Kyvon Davenport was Arik Alfasi’s high scorer with 25 points and newcomer Rayvonte Rice scored 21 points in the disappointing defeat.

Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion used a huge third quarter put away Maccabi Ashdod 94-81 at the port city. Alexander Hamilton notched his Israeli high with 32 points while five other players scored 10 points a piece in the win. LaDontae Henton and Elijah Johnson each dropped 25 points in the loss.

Hapoel Tel Aviv squeaked by Hapoel Gilboa Galil 96-93 thanks to a 35 point second quarter as well as a 41 rebound and 29 assist performance to give Ariel Beit Halachmi a win over his former team. Latavious Williams dropped a double double with 24 points and 14 rebounds, Jordan Hamilton scored 23 points while Mark Lyons added 19 points in the victory. Justin Tillman led Gilboa Galil with 27 points and 12 rebounds as Netanel Artzi and Iftach Ziv each chipped in with 15 points in the loss.

Nes Ziona used a big final frame to take the 98-91 win over Maccabi Haifa. Daequan Cook (19 points) and Golan Gutt (12 points) led the way in the 4th quarter to record the comeback victory. Tal Dunne added 16 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists, Jeremy Hollowell added 17 points and Corey Fisher scored 15 points in the win. James Young with 26 points and Scott Suggs with 19 points led Haifa in the loss.

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