Maccabi Tel Aviv held off a valiant fight by host Alba Berlin to win 70-76 and keep the German champ from collecting its first Top 16 win. Maccabi came into the game knowing it was already eliminated from the Quarterfinal Playoffs race, but took care of business on the road, improving to 2-3 in Group F. Tel Aviv used a 0-15 third quarter run to grab control of the game. But it watched as Berlin fought back from a 10-point deficit with four minutes left and came within 2 points after an 8-point Maccabi lead in the final minute. But Carlos Arroyo iced the game with 4 foul shots in the final 14.5 seconds. Charles Gaines collected 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead Maccabi, which was playing without D’Or Fischer and Yaniv Green. Veteran Marcus Brown nailed 4 three-pointers in scoring 21 points while Arroyo finished with 14 points and 4 assists. Dee Brown added 13 points and Lior Eliyahu chipped in 6 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 1 block. Adam Chubb and Immanuel M cElroy both scored 14 points for Berlin with Chubb adding 11 rebounds. Julius Jenkins added 12 points for Berlin, which dropped to 0-5 in the group, failing to give the home fans a good-bye present from the Euroleague.
Marcus Brown's free throw opened the scoring for the guests and Chubb's up and under lay-in was Berlin’s first basket. Gaines scored his first basket of the game in the paint and then Marcus Brown hit a tough layup and converted the three-point play for a 2-6 lead. McElroy’s 2 foul shots and fine pass to Chubb for an easy layup knotted the game at 6-6 and Chubb’s jump hook had the hosts ahead 8-6. Gaines however grabbed his own offensive rebound and put it back and then converted a three-point play before Chubb answered with a tip-in off an Ansu Sesay missed triple. Gaines put down two more free throws for a 10-11 advantage but Jenkins made 2 from the line after an unsportsmanlike foul on Dror Hagag. And then Casey Jacobsen drained a very long three-ball, which went in and out and back in for Berlin’s biggest lead of the period at 15-11. Dee Brown was fouled just before the first quarter whistle and made 2 of 3 foul shots to bring Maccabi within 15-13 after one period.
Dee Brown streaked down the court after a long miss for a layup to start the second quarter and even the game 15-15. But Dragan Dojcin knocked down a three-ball from the right corner for Alba. After 2 Marcus Brown foul shots, McElroy put in a fine layup on a delayed break and Eliyahu hit his first basket of the game on a layup to make it 20-19. Jenkins knocked down another Berlin triple for a 4-point lead, but Eliyahu found Gaines in the lane for an easy layin. Blagota Sekulic's 2 free throws re-established a 4-point cushion, 25-21. But Dee Brown began taking over. He fed Gaines for a driving dunk and then was quicker than the Berlin defense for a driving layup to even the game at 25-25. Aleksandar Nadjfeji made 2 free throws and banked a shot off the glass as Berlin pulled back ahead 29-25. Dee Brown was again too quick with a driving layup. And the game was tied again at 30-30 after Eliyahu's dunk off a turnover. But McElroy's tough baseline jumper gave Berlin a 32-30 lead at intermission.
Sekulic collected a fine pass into the lane for an easy basket to open the second half. Arroyo finally hit his first points to bring it to 34-32. But he watched Rashad Wright beat him with a cross-over and layup before Jenkins barely fought in an alley-oop on the break for Berlin’s biggest lead of the game, 38-32. Arroyo and Sekulic swapped baskets for a 40-34 Alba advantage. But the veteran Marcus Brown drained back-to-back triples to even the game. Dee Brown knocked down a three of his own and Arroyo's long two-point jumper made it 40-46 and forced a Berlin timeout. But that didn’t help as Marcus Brown hit another triple for a 40-49 lead and completing the 0-15 run. Jenkins stopped the run with a crucial three-ball. And a drive to the basket by Arroyo and a Marcus Brown foul shot had Maccabi up 43-52. Two Chubb free throws and Sesay’s acrobatic put-back trimmed the margin to 47-52 before a long Arroyo jumper just before the buzzer made it 47-54 after three periods.
Gaines started the fourth with a dunk to re-establish a 9-point lead. Wright sandwiched three-pointers from both corners around another Gaines basket in the paint as Alba pulled within 53-58. But Gaines dunked twice more – once at the end of the shot clock and then on the break as the gap was back to 53-62. McElroy tried to get Berlin back in the game and nailed a three-ball to make it 56-62. But a technical foul was called on Alba coach Luka Pavicevic and Marcus Brown made 2 free throws. A layup by Eliyahu had the margin at 10 points with just over four minutes left, 57-67. But Alba refused to go down easily. Jacobsen nailed a three pointer and Chubb put back an offensive rebound. And the gap was back down to 3 points on McElroy’s fast break layup to make it 64-67. But Marcus Brown stepped back and drained yet another three-ball to make it a 6-point game and then fed Gaines for an alley-oop layin for a 64-72 lead with less than a minute left. McElroy put back an offensive rebound and converted the three point play and Jacobsen made it a two point game – 70-72 – after a three-ball with 16 seconds left. But Arroyo made 4 free throws in the final 14.5 seconds to ice the game.
Thursday, March 5, 2009