Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Khimki Moscow 80-77 in a tight contest at Yad Eliyahu as the yellow-and-blue moved their record to 15-8. Playing without star guard Scottie Wilbekin, Elijah Bryant and Deni Avdija stepped up for Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s as the dynamic duo came up with big throughout the second half. Maccabi was able to neutralize Alexey Shved in the second half who had stymied the yellow-and-blue over the course of the first twenty minutes. Lockdown defense and rebounding were also key down the stretch but important 3-point baskets by Tyler Dorsey and Bryant handed the hosts the victory.
Bryant led all scorers with 21 points, Dorsey added 12 points, Deni Avdija had his best European performance with 11 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists while drawing 5 fouls and Othello Hunter notched 10 points in the win. Alexey Shved scored 18 points and added 10 assists, Jonas Jerebko chipped in with 17 points while Janis Timma scored 13 points in the defeat.
Alexey Shved came out dishing a swishing for Khimki as he handed out 4 assists and scored five points early while facilitating a pair of triples from Janis Timna as Maccabi countered with 5 points from Elijah Bryant but the visitors grabbed an 18-11 lead midway through the first quarter. Sandy Cohen came off the bench to provide a quick spark with a layup and block, Tyler Dorsey’s first shot of the night went in from deep but Shved ended the frame with a 3-pointer to give the Moscow based club a 28-20 lead after ten minutes of play.
With Bryant back in the game, the BYU product scored a pair of layups to cut the Khimki advantage to 31-26 with 6:40 remaining in the second quarter which forced Coach Rimas Kurtinaitis to call time out. Shved drilled home another triple, Egor Vialtsev scored a layup, Jonas Jerebko hit a pair of free throws and added points as well to increase the Khimki lead to 42-31 with under three minutes left in the half. Stefan Jovic found the bottom of the basket as did Timma to give the visitors a 47-36 advantage at halftime.
Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad came out on fire to start the third quarter as Bryant led a 12-0 run to start the second half by scoring from the outside and in the paint while Othello Hunter picked up points as well to pull Maccabi even at 50-50 midway through the frame. Deni Avidja got into the act as he sliced his way to the basket but Jerebko answered right back with a 3-pointer as the intensity on the court continued to heat. Jerebko kept scoring and Jovic scored a triple but Aaron Jackson drained a long distance special to keep the game all even at 60-60 after thirty minutes of action.
Tyler Dorsey who had been very quiet began the final frame with a corner triple and added another one from beyond the arc but Timma, Jovic and Vialtsev came right back for Khimki but Avdija found nothing but net from deep and Bryant put in a lay up as Maccabi held a slim 72-70 lead with 4:34 remaining in regulation time. However, Devin Booker who was playing with four fouls scored a 3-pointer as did Shved to hand a 76-74 advantage back to Khimki with under a minute and a half to go in the fourth quarter. Dorsey came out of the timeout to hit a triple and Bryant hit a floater in the lane and a free throw to give Maccabi the 80-77 win.