Maccabi Tel Aviv outclassed Partizan Belgrade 96-81 to open up the Euroleague season off on the right foot with a victory. Lorenzo Brown scored at will over the first half while the big men Roman Sorkin, Josh Nebo and Jasiel Rivero found points a plenty over the course of the second half as five players scored in double digits to secure the win.
Next up for Maccabi is their Israeli league opener against Kiryat Ata on Sunday (17:30) and then they head to Italy for a date with Milano on Thursday at 21:30.
Brown led Maccabi with 22 points and 8 assists, Sorkin and Nebo each had 14 points while Colson added 11 points in the win. Aleksa Avramovic scored 24 points as Kevin Punter and PJ Dozier each chipped in with 11 points a piece in the loss.
“Especially since we didn’t have Wade Baldwin this was a great start for us,” Katash commented. “Offensively Lorenzo Brown pushed us with the right tempo in the first half. We played a talented team and stuck to the game plan while sharing the ball with 31 assists. We won the rebound battle so I’m happy, but we still have plenty to improve on.”
We didn’t play a very good game,” Partizan coach Zeljko Obradovic said. “We had a plan as to how we were going to play tonight and while the plan was good, it came out quite differently in reality. We wanted to control the offense and make sure they didn’t run the open court. They scored way too many transition points and they gained confidence and we played badly.”
Lorenzo Brown came in a like player possessed as he knocked down a pair of triples and a duo of deuces to get Maccabi Tel Aviv off and running to a 13-9 lead midway through the first quarter. Dunks all over from Allen Smailagac, Roman Sorkin and Bonzie Colson while Tamir Blatt drilled home one from deep to give the yellow-and-blue and commanding 27-16 lead after ten minutes of play.
Aleksa Avramovic started to score in bundles to get Partizan Belgrade to within 5 points, but Josh Nebo, Brown and Colson bumped the lead right back up to 45-28 with 5:01 remaining in the second quarter. Avramovic again started to chew into the Maccabi lead with a trio of buckets, Sorkin and Cohen answered while Brown put in another pair of buckets to head into halftime with a 55-43 advantage.
Zach LeDay and Kevin Punter scored to begin the third quarter, Jasiel Rivero put in a pair of buckets for Oded Katash’s squad while PJ Dozier also found points but Maccabi stayed in front 61-50 midway through the period. Antonius Cleveland dropped a quartet of free throws, Sorkin scored as did Blatt while Nebo out down a dunk to end the frame with Maccabi in cruise control 74-58.
Blatt with a triple, Colson with a jam and Nebo off the glass got the fourth quarter underway, Sorkin dunked, Rivero scored and Dibartolomeo went from downtown as the yellow-and-blue cruised to the 15-point win.