Maccabi falls to Zenit in dramatic fashion 73-71; losing steak now at 7

Dec 23, 2021 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi Tel Aviv fell in dramatic fashion to Zenit St. Petersburg 73-71 in Euroleague action as Billy Baron scored a game winning 3-pointer to hand the Russians the win. With the loss, the Yellow & Blue have now dropped 7 straight continental clashes with another away tilt on tap next week at Monaco.

Xavi Pascual’s squad hammered away at Maccabi from the get go outscoring Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s team 25-10 over the course of the opening frame with points coming from Jordan Loyd and Billy Baron from the outside and Arturas Gudaitis on the inside. Jalen Reynolds tried to pull the visitors back into the game and with the help of Derrick Williams Maccabi took a surprise 71-70 lead with 17 seconds left in the final frame.

However, out of a timeout Baron drilled home a triple to retake the advantage while Scottie Wilbekin missed a game tying layup on the last possession sending Maccabi to their worst losing streak this century.

Jordan Loyd – Photo Credit: Zenit St. Petersburg

Reynolds led Maccabi with 24 points and Derrick Williams added 14 points in the loss. Alex Poythress scored 14 points Baron added 12 points while Gudaitis and Dimitry Kulagin each scored 10 points in the win.

“It’s very hard to talk after losing the way we did tonight,” a disappointed Sfairopoulos said following the game. “As we played and had the lead it’s very hard to lose the game and we were ready to steal the game. On one side we are disappointed that we lost the game but I am very worried as how we started and played the first half.”

“First of all, it is one game that I think we have to be more or less satisfied for what we did for almost 35 minutes,” Pascual began. “Finally, we could score a three-pointer and won the game with our last defense. We have to be happy and think about the next one. I think 2021 was very nice for Zenit.”

Jalen Reynolds – Photo Credit: Zenit St. Petersburg

Jalen Reynolds also spoke about the defeat, “Tonight they played harder than us and we definitely fought and it was a really close match. I want to tip my hat to them, really good team they have. We have to stay together and keep rolling. We needed energy in the first half and we weren’t as aggressive in the first as we were in the second.”

Sergey Karasev with a triple, a dunk by Arturas Gudatis and a deuce by Jordan Loyd got Zenit St. Petersburg on the board early while Maccabi Tel Aviv countered with points in the paint by Jake Cohen and Ante Zizic as the hosts led 7-4 midway through the first quarter. Loyd and Billy Baron both went from deep, Mateusz Ponitka added points in the paint, Andrey Zubkov scored from downtown and Gudaitis put down another dunk to give Xavi Pascual’s squad a commanding 25-10 lead after ten minutes.

Scottie Wilbekin – Photo Credit: Zenit St. Petersburg

Baron dialed up long distance, Derrick Williams answered with a pair of points, Jalen Reynolds put down an alley-oop and Williams put in another pair of points in the paint as Zenit continued to stay in front 30-18 with 6:48 left in the second quarter. Alex Poythress and Williams traded points, Zubkov drilled home another 3-pointer, Reynolds put in points, Gudaitis responded with a mega jam as Conner Frankamp scored a floater to keep Zenit in the lead 41-26 at halftime.

Reynolds began the third quarter with a dunk, Keenan Evans and Scottie Wilbekin added points but Gudaitis answered to keep Zenit ahead 45-33 midway through the period. Poythress scored inside, Karasev put in a deuce, James Nunnally scored from outside the arc, Williams dunked but Dmitriy Kulagin nailed a triple as the time expired to end the third quarter with the hosts up 56-47 after thirty minutes of play.

Kameron Taylor – Photo Credit: Zenit St. Petersburg

Poythress scored to get the fourth quarter underway, Wilbekin and Cohen nailed 3-pointers as Maccabi cut the leads to 60-53 with 5:44 remaining in regulation time. Reynolds scored, Kulagin went from outside and then inside twice, Williams scored a corner 3-ball, Evans put in a layup to pull to within 5-points, 67-62 with 2:17 left in the frame. Reynolds scored a pair, Wilbekin drilled home an open 3-pointer, Nunnally scored in the paint and Williams put down a massive dunk to give Maccabi a 71-70 lead with 17 seconds to go. Barron hit a 3-pointer out of a timeout to retake the lead and Wilbekin missed a layup as Zenit snatched the 73-71 win.

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