Maccabi outlasts Baskonia 94-93 in electrifying clash

Mar 1, 2022 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi Tel Aviv outlasted Baskonia 94-93 in an entertaining action packed back and forth clash at Yad Eliyahu. Ante Zizic and James Nunnally filled the basket while a late technical call on Baskonia coach Neven Spahija along with 3-pointers by Scottie Wilbekin and John DiBartolomeo helped overcome Wade Baldwin’s scoring spree as Avi Even’s squad snatched the win.

The Yellow & Blue moved their record to 12-13 and sit in 12th place which could change should the three Russian teams, CSKA, Zenit and Kazan be suspended from the competition due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Avi Even – Photo Credit: Maccabi Tel Aviv

“I’m happy we won against a very dangerous and talented team,” Maccabi coach Avi Even said following the victory. “This was a good win after two losses and the guys left everything on the floor. I’m proud of the team and I could feel the fans support from the floor. We need to keep winning in order to meet our goals.”

Neven Spahija – Photo Credit: Euroleague

“We gave a lot of fight and it was much different than the first game,” Baskonia coach Neven Spahija explained. “To win here you have to be more mentally tough and more focused and simply better. Baskonia was better in many parts of the game other than the free throws which you can see on the scoresheet.”

Both teams came out flying as if they were at a track meet over the opening ten minutes as Ante Zizic and James Nunnally paced Maccabi while Wade Baldwin and Vanja Marinkovic did the same for Baskonia as the hosts grabbed a slim 28-27 lead. The second frame was more of the same as Scottie Wilbekin got into the act while Simone Fontecchio and Rokas Giedraitis responded for Neven Spahija’s team but Maccabi stayed in front 56-50 at halftime.

Wade Baldwin – Photo Credit: Euroleague

But what has been the Yellow & Blue’s Achilles Heel all season long, the third quarter once again pooped up its head as Baldwin sliced and diced the Yellow & Blue up to head into the final frame holding a 77-71 advantage. But Avi Even’s crew came storming back as Zizic scored buckets a plenty while John DiBartolomeo and Scottie Wilbekin hit 3-pointers in the clutch to snatch the one-point victory.

Zizic and Nunnally each scored 21 points while Wilbekin added 17 points in the win. Baldwin led the way for the visitors with 27 points, Giedraitis added 15 points and Matt Costello scored 11 points in the loss.

James Nunnally – Photo Credit: Euroleague

Rokas Giedraitis put in a quick layup while Vanja Marinkovic, Simone Fontecchio and Wade Baldwin went from deep for Baskonia but Ante Zizic and James Nunnally answered for Maccabi Tel Aviv but it was the visitors who held a 13-7 lead midway through the first quarter. Zizic completed a 3-point play, Baldwin and Marinkovic responded by scoring from beyond the arc, Steven Enoch tapped in a rebound as Scottie Wilbekin and Nunnally scored at the other end. However, Baldwin continued his scoring onslaught from deep with another 3-pointer but John DiBartolomeo matched him at the other end to give the hosts a 28-27 lead after ten minutes of play.

Wade Baldwin – Photo Credit: Euroleague

Wilbekin, Jalen Reynolds and Angelo Caloiaro all scored to begin the second quarter but Fontecchio answered for Neven Spahija’s squad while Jayson Granger and Wilbekin traded triples and Tadas Sedekerskis added one as well but the Yellow & Blue stayed in front 43-39 with 5:23 left in the period. Baldwin hit a fadeaway jumper on the baseline, Iftach Ziv came back with a deuce but Giedraitis and Marinkovic responded, however, Ziv went from deep and Zizic put the ball in off the glass to send Maccabi into halftime in front 56-50.

Simone Fontecchio- Photo Credit: Euroleague

Ziv opened the third quarter with a swish, Matt Costello scored easily in the paint, Alec Peters went from downtown and Giedraitis found points as well to help Baskonia even up the score at 61-61 midway through the frame. Baldwin scored from the inside and the outside, Nunnally came back with a pair of free throws and then notched a 4-point play, Sedekerskis, Baldwin, Enoch and Giedraitis answered at the other end to give the visitors a 77-71 lead after thirty minutes of action.

Scottie Wilbekin – Photo Credit: Euroleague

Sedekerskis and Caloiaro traded buckets to get the fourth quarter underway while scored a trio of buckets inside to pull Maccabi to within 82-81 with 5:51 remaining in regulation time. Fontecchio and Peters found points, Zizic and Wilbekin did the same, Baldwin hit a jumper, DiBartolomeo nailed a triple but Costello put in a 3-point play to give the visitors a 91-89 lead with under a minute remaining. However, Wilbekin drilled home a triple with 31.5 seconds left on the clock as Maccabi held on to take the 94-93 win.

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