Maccabi Tel Aviv downs Zalgiris, moves to 10-7 midway through Euroleague season

Dec 28, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi Tel Aviv dropped Zalgiris 78-70 to get back onto the winning track in Euroleague play and move their record to 10-7 as the season hit the halfway mark. The yellow-and-blue had trouble finding the basket in the first half as Josh Nebo paced Oded Katash’s club over the course of the opening 20 minutes but fell behind 33-32. However, Tamir Blatt began to heat up and Roman Sorkin scored four straight buckets in the third quarter to go along with points from Bonzie Colson and Nebo as Maccabi took the win.

Nebo scored a career high 22 points, Blatt added 14 points and 8 assists while Sorkin, Colson and Lorenzo Brown all had 11 points in the win. Keenan Evans scored 18 points and Edmond Sumner added 14 points in the loss.

“We played the right way the whole game and controlled the rebound,” Oded Katash said. “We were smart and we used our big guys. It was a great performance from Tamir Blatt he really helped us. It wasn’t easy for us and I am really proud of the guys as we had one practice to prepare and this was a big one for us.”

“Bad third quarter, second part of it cost us the win and we went to -17 very quickly. We tried to come back but it was not enough,” Zalgiris head coach Kazys Maksvytis said.

Josh Nebo – Photo credit: Linas Zemgulis

The game MVP Josh Nebo spoke about the game that was, “I wanted to come out and make sure we put our best effort forward because we lost last game and we wanted bounced back from last week. As for the offensive rebounds it’s something we do really well, crash the offensive boards and that is a point for us.”

Roman Sorkin added, “We did our game plan pretty good. Our defense is what we are trying to improve every week and we did a good job with that. We were one point away at halftime and we became stronger in the 3rd quarter and we won the game.”

Keenan Evans – Photo credit: Linas Zemgulis

Josh Nebo got busy inside for Maccabi Tel Aviv but Edmond Sumner drilled home a trio of triples for Zalgiris to grab a 11-6 lead midway through the first quarter. Lorenzo Brown and Tamir Blatt picked up points, Lukas Lekavicius answered while Jasiel Rivero scored to keep the yellow-and-blue close but down 18-16 after ten minutes of play.

Brown opened the scoring in the second quarter, Bonzie Colson went from downtown, Keenan Evans responded while Jake Cohen fed Nebo for a massive alley-oop to give Maccabi a 25-23 lead with 6:25 left in the period. Colson added a dunk of his own, Laurynas Birutis scored a pair of baskets inside, Nebo and Evans traded baskets while Brown hit a last gasp 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to send Oded Katash’s team to the lockerroom down by a point 33-32.

Jake Cohen – Photo credit: Linas Zemgulis

Birutis put in a deuce as Blatt answered with a triple to begin the this quarter, Colson scored a corner 3-pointer, Nebo added a 3-point play and then put in a rebound and Colson went from beyond the arc once again to give Maccabi a 48-42 lead midway through the frame. Brown scored inside the key, John Dibartolomeo fed Roman Sorkin for a monster dunk and then added three more buckets while Rafi Menco drilled home a corner 3-pointer to give the yellow-and-blue a 61-49 lead after thirty minutes of action.

Rolands Smits began the fourth quarter with a pair of baskets, Dovydas Giedraitis and Blatt traded triples, Sorkin went from deep while Evans and Birutis scored to cut the Maccabi lead to 69-63 with five minutes remaining in regulation time. Nebo scored yet again, Brady Manek sent from downtown, Blatt hit a jumper and Rivero put in a rebound to wrap up the win.

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