Maccabi Tel Aviv slipped by first place Anadolu Efes 77-75 at Yad Eliyahu to move their record to 19-8 and clinch a Euroleague playoff berth. The yellow-and-blue jumped out to a big league thanks to stellar play by Yovel Zoosman who recently returned from injury but the visitors came back on the strength of Vasilije Micic and Krunoslav Simon but late game heroics by Scottie Wilbekin and Othello Hunter helped Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad to the two-point win.
Wilbekin led the way with 21 points, Hunter added 21 points and 12 rebounds while Yovel Zoosman added 12 points in the win. Micic & Krunoslav each had 14 points as Rodrigue Beaubois chipped in with 13 points in the defeat.
With over 10,000 season ticket holders and a 5,000 limit, Maccabi’s management tried every effort up until the last second to allow all of their fans to enter the arena. Due to their dissuasions with government officials they delayed putting out an announcement and eventually let 3,300 fans into the arena in Tel Aviv most of whom came to the game hoping that they would be allowed in which was eventually the case.
“It was a little bit weird,” explained Maccabi’s star guard Scottie Wilbekin. “But we just tried to focus on doing our regular routine and get ready to play a game against a tough opponent.”
Coach Sfairopoulos also spoke about the situation, “It was very difficult to handle before the game with the Coronavirus issue and you can understand it was unusual for all of us. We didn’t know if we would have our fans by our side, but I think we handled the situation really well. When you cross the line and come to the court, you need to forget what’s happening outside the four lines and that’s what we did.
It is yet to be determined if Baskonia from Spain who is Maccabi’s next opponent at home will be allowed into the country.