Maccabi Tel Aviv fell to Real Madrid 72-70 in heartbreaking fashion as Guerschon Yabusele scored the game winning basket was time wound down by driving to the hoop and going one on one at Ante Zizic to take the victory. The Yellow & Blue controlled the pace of play throughout the game as coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos matched Pablo Laso’s team point for point. But in the final frame, the hosts led by Thomas Heurtel’s sharp shooting and Yabusele’s intelligent play and clutch basket snatched the win from the jaws of defeat leaving Maccabi stunned.
Scottie Wilbekin led Maccabi with 14 points, while Keenan Evans and Ante Zizic each scored 10 points a piece in the loss. Heurtel and Yabusele scored 15 points each while Vincent Poirier added 11 points in the win.
Guerschon Yabusele came out red hot with a trio of early buckets for Real Madrid while Scottie Wilbekin put the ball off the glass and Kameron Taylor followed up with a pair of baskets for Maccabi Tel Aviv but Adam Hanga went from deep to give the hosts a 12-6 lead midway through the first quarter. Hanga continued to score, Thomas Heurtel added his first points of the night, on the other side Ante Zizic cleaned up the boards and scored a layup, Jalen Reynolds dunked and John Dibartolomeo drilled a triple to get Maccabi to within 20-18 after ten minutes of play.
Nigel Williams-Goss began the second quarter with points in the paint, but Reynolds went up for an alley-oop off a Scottie Wilbekin pass and James Nunnally found his first points of the game while Wilbekin nailed a 3-pointer to give the Yellow & Blue their first lead of the game 25-24. Yabusele and Poirier gave Maccabi problems inside but Keenan Evans found his first points of the game and Wilbekin scored as well, while Walter Tavares and Zizic went back and forth with baskets at each end as Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad took a slow 38-37 lead into halftime.
Hanga and Tavraes scored for Real, Derrick Williams and Zizic found points for Maccabi as the third quarter got underway while Roman Sorkin put in a pay to keep Maccabi in front 44-41 midway through the period. Oz Blayzer drilled home a corner 3-ball, points by Poirier and Heurtel closed the gap but Evans with a pair of baskets and another triple by Blayzer handed Maccabi a 59-50 lead after thirty minutes of action.
Poirier looked to cut down the Maccabi lead with points to begin the fourth quarter, Wilbekin nailed a floater in the lane and Reynolds added a deuce as age Yellow & Blue stayed in the lead 63-58 with 5:43 left in regulation time. Evans went in for a layup but Fabien Causeur, Heurtel and Taavres all scored to pull Pablo Laso’s team to within 2-points 67-65 with 1:42 to go in the final frame.
Heurtel dialed up long distance to go up 68-67, Evans missed his chance to retake the lead, Wilbekin couldn’t inbound the ball and turned it over resulting in Heurtel hitting yet another shot, but Williams nailed a 3-pointer to tie the game up at 70-70 with 19 seconds left. However, Yabusele took the ball inside and powered in the winning points to snatch the 72-70 victory.