Maccabi Tel Aviv downed Valencia 84-72 thanks to a strong second half on both ends of the floor to keep their slim Euroleague playoff hopes alive. After a slow paced first half of play, the Yellow & Blue turned up the volume as Tyler Dorsey, Chris Jones, Ante Zizic and Omri Casspi overcame strong performances by Louis Labeyrie and Sam Van Rossom to power Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad to the victory for their first win since January 21st.
Dorsey led all scorers with 17 points, Casspi and Jones each added 14 points while Zizic chipped in with 13 points in the win. Louis Labeyrie scored 18 points, Van Rossom added 14 points and Nikola Kalinic scored 11 points in the loss.
Maccabi Tel Aviv center Ante Zizic blocked Valencia big man Bojan Dubljevic to get the game underway and Omri Casspi scored a pair of baskets but Louis Labeyrie with a 3-pointer and a runner plus two layups by Sam Van Rossom put the visitors in front 9-6 midway through the first quarter. Chris Jones and Zizic scored in the paint, Elijah Bryant added a couple of buckets but Mike Tobey scored inside and Klemen Prepelic nailed a triple to give Jaume Ponsarnau’s squad an 18-14 lead after ten minutes of play.
Angelo Caloiaro scored from under the basket on a bullet pass from John Dibartolomeo, Tobey answered with points in the paint as Dragan Bender did the same for the Yellow & Blue at the other end, however, five quick points from Dubljevic gave Valencia a 25-23 lead with six minutes left in the second quarter. Tyler Dorsey drained a 3-pointer and hit a pair of free throws, Prepelic went from downtown and Derrick Williams the #2 pick in the 2011 NBA draft scored a layup but Casspi put down a dunk to put Maccabi ahead 31-30 with 2:58 remaining in the first half. Dubljevic and Casspi traded baskets but the Montenegrin big man kept scoring to help Valencia retake the lead 35-33 at halftime.
Zizic with a 3-point play, Caloiaro with a 3-pointer and Jones with points scored for Maccabi while Van Rossom and Layberie countered for Valencia, but a pair of triples for Jones gave Maccabi the 47-45 advantage midway through the third quarter. Zizic scored inside but Van Rossom with a deuce, Nikola Kalinic dialled up long distance twice, and Layberie added points but a triple from Dorsey and layups by Bender and Hunter kept the hosts in the lead 62-56 after thirty minutes of action.
Dorsey went from downtown and a floater to get the fourth quarter underway but Kalinic matched him at the other end with a 3-pointer, however points by Dorsey and Bender gave Maccabi a 69-61 lead with 5:58 left in regulation. Zizic scored a pair of baskets, Jones added free throws and Casspi drilled a triple to wrapup the 84-72 victory.