Maccabi Tel Aviv fell to CSKA Moscow 76-72 in Russia as Mike James and Will Clyburn starred in the second half to help down the Yellow & Blue. The loss moves Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad’s record to 1-1 in Euroleague play as they ready for the first double week of the season when they face Bayern Munich at home and Olympiacos in Athens. Bad shooting by both teams plagued the first 30 minutes of the game but a frantic fourth quarter saw clutch plays on both sides of the court as the hosts took the 4-point win.
Mike James led all scorers with 25 points, Will Clyburn added 19 points while Toko Shengelia chipped in with 8 points and 9 rebounds for CSKA. Scottie Wilbekin had 20 points and 5 assists, Tyler Diorsey scored 16 points and Ante Zizic notched 13 points and 9 boards for Maccabi.
Scottie Wilbekin hit a floater in the lane and a triple to get Maccabi off and running while Toko Shengelia scored a pair of buckets in the paint while also getting Yellow & Blue big man Othello Hunter in foul trouble with two early on as CSKA took a slim 6-5 lead midway through the first quarter. Tyler Dorsey hit back to back 3-pointers but Darrun Hilliard got in to a groove with points plus a shot from long distance as the hosts took a 20-15 lead after ten minutes of play.
With Hunter back in the game he scored a layup in the paint to get the second quarter underway while Shengelia did what he does best as he drew three quick fouls on Oz Blayzer. Johannes Voightmann with a wide open triple, Will Clyburn scored a jumper and then posterized Dragan Bender as Dimitris Itoudis’s squad stayed ahead 28-20 with 6:11 left in the first half. Bender scored in the paint as did Bryant, Ante Zizic slammed the ball home and Dorsey hit an and-one layup to pull Maccabi to 31-30 at halftime.
Joel Bolomboy drained a long 3-pointer but then committed an unsportsmanlike foul on Bryant who made his free throws and then scored a layup as Maccabi drew even at 36-36 midway through the third quarter. Mike James hit a corner triple and added a pair of free throws as he raised his game total to a dozen points but points from Dorsey and Chris Jones kept the game as is, down by 1-point, 45-44 after 30 minutes of action.
Shengelia opened the final frame with a 3-point play but Zizic scored 6 points in the paint and Wilbekin added a floater as Maccabi grabbed a 52-48 lead forcing Itoudis to call timeout. Clyburn drained a triple, but Wilbekin matched him at the other end with a pair of 3-pointers in a row while Bender scored off an offensive rebound as Maccabi continued to stay in front 62-58 with four minutes remaining in regulation.
However, James and Nikita Kurbanov both hit a high arcing long distance shots to retake the lead, plus James then scored two from the charity stripe and a dagger triple to go up 69-66 with a minute left. As the shot clock wound down Clyburn drilled a 3-pointer over Hunter as Dorsey and Wilbekin answered at the other end. But Clyburn wrapped up the victory for CSKA with a pair of free throws to take the 76-72 win.