Maccabi Tel Aviv down ALBA Berlin 87-78 to win 2nd Euroleague game in a row

Jan 25, 2022 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi Tel Aviv downed ALBA Berlin 87-78 as the yellow-and-blue featured five players in double figures as they put the Derby loss to Hapoel Tel Aviv from earlier in the week to bed as they controlled the tempo from the get go to secure the win. Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad took care of the ball as they committed only 5 turnovers, dished out 20 assists and recorded 10 steals in an all around team game.

The victory, Maccabi’s second Euroleague win in a row, moved the club’s record to 9-11 before they head into a Euroleague double week where they will visit Zalgiris in Lithuania and Bayern Munich in Germany.

The hosts welcomed back one of their former players in Yovel Zoosman as the swingman returned to Yad Eliyahu as a member of the opposition after playing for Maccabi for the last half decade. However, it was his old teammate Scottie Wilbekin that paced Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad to open up a 47-39 lead at halftime. Berlin cut the lead down to just 3-points on terrific shooting displays by Maodo Lo and Luke Sikma, but a Keenan Evans dunk along with triples by John DiBartolomeo and Derrick Williams wrapped up the victory for Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad.

Scottie Wilbekin – Photo Credit: Euroleague


Wilbekin led the way with 18 points, 6 assists and 3 steals, Derrick Williams added 16 points, Jalen Reynolds and Ante Zizic each scored 14 points from the center position and Keenan Evans chipped in with 9 points, 8 assists and 3 steals in the win. Maodo Lo scored 18 points, Luke Sikma added 12 points and Zoosman scored 10 points in the loss.

“We just tried to play aggressive, play tough, dive and play hard for every ball,” Sfairopoulos said following the game. “We just are trying to keep going with our rhythm and to protect our home court. We tried to slow down the game, won the game and stuck to our game plan.”

“Maccabi had more energy than us at the end” Berlin coach Israel Gonzalez explained. “We were able to comeback but it wasn’t enough at the end. I have to be happy with the performance due to a corona issue within the team and we need some time to rest up and practice but we have games every two games. We have to find a way to survive.”

Scottie Wilbekin – Photo Credit: Euroleague


The game’s most valuable player Scottie Wilbekin spoke about the keys to the victory, “We made enough plays. We were almost in danger of giving away the game like we have a few times this season, but we were able to dig down, get some stops and get some buckets. Keenan (Evans) and John (Dibartolomeo) made big plays, and sealed the deal.”

Maodo Lo and Ben Lammers scored early on for ALBA Berlin while Derrick Williams countered for Maccabi Tel Aviv but the visitors held a 12-7 lead midway through the first quarter. Yovel Zoosman scored from the outside and inside for Israel Gonzalez’s team as Scottie Wilbekin matched him for Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad, Johannes Theiman found points as well for Berlin, but Kameron Taylor with a pair of baskets tied the game up at 23-23 after ten minutes of play.

Yovel Zoosman – Photo Credit: Euroleague


Taylor confused with the hot hand to begin the second quarter while Jalen Reynolds scored easy buckets in the paint and added a midrange jumper and Williams cut through the Berlin defense like a hit knife through butter to give Maccabi a 36-27 advantage with 5 minutes left in the period. Christ Koumade used his height to score a trio in the Yellow & Blue paint, Wilbekin came back with points inside and outside, Williams put down a massive alley-oop while Luke Sikma and Lo tried to keep the Germans close but Maccabi took a 47-39 lead into halftime.

Lammers and Taylor exchanged buckets to get the third quarter started, Williams nailed a triple and Zizic added points in the paint, but Sikma and Zoosman did the same as Maccabi stayed in front 55-45 midway through the frame. Williams put down a tomahawk dunk, Taylor added points while Sikma scored at the other end, however, the yellow-and-blue stayed ahead 67-58 after thirty minutes of action.

Keenan Evans – Photo Credit: Euroleague


Jaleen Smith got to work for ALBA to begin the fourth quarter, Louis Olinde went from downtown and Oscar Da Silva hit a floater to cut the lead to just 5 points but Zizic put in points as Maccabi kept the lead 76-68 with five minutes remaining in regulation time. Evans and Sikma traded 3-pointers, Lo added his own from long distance to get Berlin to within just 3-points 79-76. But Evans came right back down the court put down a dunk and John Dibartolomeo drilled a triple to close out the win for Maccabi.

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