Maccabi Electra improved to 6-3 and earned the chance to finish second in Group D by downing Lottomatica Roma 79-59 in Tel Aviv, Israel on Thursday night. Maccabi was already qualified to the Top 16 and will be second or third at the end of this round due to its 0-2 record against Caja Laboral, first at 7-2. Meanwhile, Lottomatica registered its sixth consecutive loss and went down to 3-6. Lottomatica, however, will advance to the Top 16 if it beats end-of-the-table Union Olimpija next week and Maroussi BC loses against Maccabi. Chuck Eidson led the winners with 23 points. David Bluthenthal added 15 for Maccabi. Ricky Minard led Lottomatica with 14 points. Andre Hutson added 12 while Andrea Crosariol had 10 for Lottomatica, that trailed 22-20 after 10 minutes. An outstanding Hutson and a big dunk off a steal by Herve Toure allowed the guests to tie the game, 35-35, at halftime. Maccabi led almost all the way in the second half but Minard brought Roma within 51-48 late in the third quarter. Eidson and Guy Pnini fueled a 13-3 run that allowed Maccabi to seal the outcome, 64-51, and cruise to a well-deserved win.
Eidson got Maccabi going with a fast break layup that Crosariol matched with a power basket. Lottomatica try to lock the defensive board with Angelo Gigli and Crosariol in its starting lineup. Raviv Limonad shined with a backdoor layup but Crosariol tied the game again, 4-4. Stephane Lasme hit free throws and Eidson shined with a layup off a steal, good for a 8-4 Maccabi lead. The guests had started to miss open shots but Crosariol stayed on fire down low. Limonad sank a triple off the dribble but a fallaway jumper by Kennedy Winston kept Lottomatica within 11-8. Maccabi tried to open the court with Bluthenthal at power forward. Eidson kept pacing the hosts with a three-point play that Luca Vitali erased with a bomb from downtown. Bluthenthal took over with a driving layup that Hutson copied in the other end. Bluthenthal struck from downtown but a jump hook by Hutson kept Lottomatica in the game, 19-15. Limonad and Vitali traded three-pointers and Hutson buried a fallaway jumper brought Roma within 22-20 after 10 minutes.
Hutson provided a highlight with a put-back dunk early in the second quarter, as Lottomatica improved its aggressivity in defense. A backdoor dunk by Winston soon gave Lottomatica its first lead, 22-24, as Maccabi had been scoreless for more than 2 minutes already. Maccabi tried to find new options in offense with Alan Anderson on court. Hutson stayed on fire with another fallaway jumper that Eidson matched with free throws. Maccabi managed to stop Hutson with Lasme back on the floor. Doron Perkins stepped up with a layup and a fast break dunk by Eidson made Roma call timeout at 28-26. Lasme beat the shot clock with a six-meter jumper and soon added a foul shot for a 31-27 score, as Lottomatica kept collecting turnovers. Minard found his first points on an open jumper but an unstoppable Eidson sank 4-of-4 free throws for a 35-29 Maccabi lead. Minard and Jacopo Giachetti combined for 4 quick points and Toure collected a steal and raced downcourt to dunk it and tie the game, 35-35, at halftime.
Anderson scored in penetration immediately after the break and soon added a three-pointer for a 40-35 Maccabi lead. Gigli quickly answered from downtown and even when Eidson scored again, his free throws brought Lottomatica within 42-40. Minard followed a triple with a driing layup to tie the game again, 45-45, as Maccabi kept running its offense through Anderson. Minard had managed to stop Eidson but Lottomatica could not get Hutson or Ibby Jaaber involved now. Andrew Wisniewski buried a triple from the top of the key, as the guests could not find the way to the basket for more than 2 minutes. Pnini beat the shot clock with a wide open three-pointer that forced Lottomatica to call timeout at 51-45. Hutson popped in a turnaround jumper and Minard added a free throw to bring Lottomatica back in track at 51-48. It didn't last long, however, as Bluthenthal scored inside while Pnini buried a corner three-pointer to boost the hosts' lead to 56-48 after 30 minutes.
Winston sank a free throw early in the fourth quarter, as Maccabi kept struggling to find the way to the basket. Roma called timeout to improve its offense and try to return to the game. Minard sank a six-meter jumper that Pnini improved with an off-balance layup in transition. Maccabi powered the offensive board and used long possessions to dominate the game. Eidson had a huge block on Minard and fed Bluthenthal for a big triple in the other end to give Maccabi its first double-digit lead, 62-51, with 6 minutes left. Perkins scored in transition to make Lottomatica call timeout at 64-51. Luigi Datome scored in penetration but Eidson followed free throws with a big three-pointer that sealed the outcome, 69-53, with less than 4 minutes left. D'or Fischer fed Bluthenthal for a layup, as all Maccabi fans had plenty of time to celebrate yet another Euroleague home win. Meanwhile, Lottomatica must bounce back right away and wait for other scores to try to reach the Top 16 in the final regular season date.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010