Maccabi Tel Aviv Starts Top 16 Stage With Road Win

Israelis overturn midway deficit to trump Galatasaray 90-84.

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Maccabi Tel Aviv opened the Top 16 stage of the Euroleague with a valuable road win, rolling past Galatasaray 90-84.

The Turkish champions sank 14 three-pointers in 30 attempts and lead 47-40 at the break, but Maccabi raced back into the game by nailing 10 of 20 attempts from beyond the arc.

Four players had outstanding performances for Maccabi: Ricky Hickman marked his season high with 24 points. Alex Tyus, usually the third big man on the roster, set a career record in Euroleague competition with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Yogev Ohayon also set a season high, pouring in 15 points. Devin Smith registered a season high under the boards, pulling down 10 rebounds to go together with his 14-point night.

Guy Pnini and David Blu also played well, covering for off-nights by Joe Ingles and Tyrese Rice. They also compensated for another foul-plagued game by Sofoklis Schortsanitis.

Galatasaray was paced by Carlos Arroyo, whose 19 points were not enough to overcome Maccabi’s late onslaught.

Schortsanitis actually got off to a promising start, handling the ball during Maccabi’s first three possessions and scoring five points. Hickman added another four to assist Maccacbi in an opening 9-4 run, which Tel Aviv expanded to 25-17 late in the first period.

However, the Turks went on a tear with 11 consecutive points that started with threes by Henry Domercant and Arroyo in the waning seconds of the opening quarter, establishing a lead they would not relinquish until early in the fourth frame. Arroyo also knocked in the final three of the half to put Galatasaray up by seven.

Maccabi kept its composure when it returned to the court, turning up its defense a notch although still unable to convert easy baskets. The team methodically whittled down Galatasaray’s lead to just two by the end of the third quarter.

Maccabi tied up the game at 71, and Hickman answered a Galatasaray three with one of his own. Smith then hit a big three-pointer. An inspired Maccabi clamped down its defense even further, resulting in a steal with four minutes left. Over the next three minutes, Maccabi expanded its lead to an insurmountable 10 points.

Yogev Ohayon of Maccabi Tel Aviv driving to the basket in Istanbul on Thursday night. Credit: EB via Getty Images

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