Maccabi Electra roars past Siena by 31
Maccabi Electra rejuvenated its playoffs hopes with a 92-61 pasting off Montepaschi Siena on Thursday night at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv. Devin Smith and Yogev Ohayon each scored 19 to pace the Israeli champs, who improved to 3-5 in Top 16 Group F. The result knocked Siena to 6-2 as it dropped from a share of first place in the standings. After an even opening quarter, Smith and David Logan led a 14-3 second-quarter run that put the Israeli champs up by 10 at halftime. The lead reached 20 in the third quarter. After Siena center Benjamin Eze helped narrow the gap to 12 early in the fourth quarter, Maccabi took off behind Smith and Guy Pnini, reeling off 21 unanswered points to secure the win. Smith was 5 for 6 from downtown as Maccabi made 60% of its three-pointers. Pnini finished with 15 points for the winners, Logan scored 14 and Shawn James compiled 14 points and 4 blocked shots. Bobby Brown and Kristjan Kangur each scored 13 for Siena.
First quarter: Hot shooting leads is the early theme
Smith put the hosts up with a triple for the game’s first basket. James scored on the break before Brown and Kangur got Siena on the scoreboard. Eze tied it at 6-6, but Maccabi never fell behind. After a pretty Ohayon layup, Logan drilled a three to make it 13-8. Kangur brought the Italian champs back with a pair of three-pointers – one from each corner – to even the score at 14-14. Ohayon put the hosts right back on top with a three, but Kangur’s 10th point of the quarter gave Siena its first lead, 17-18. The lead changed hands on each of the next three possessions before Brown’s second-chance bucket tied it at 22-22 through one quarter.
Second quarter: Smith, Logan lead 14-3 Maccabi run
The defenses toughened up at both ends after a free-flowing finish to the first quarter. Brown and Ohayon scored to keep it tied. Turnovers by each team’s center, Eze and Darko Planinic, kept the score stagnant. Pnini’s layup made it 27-26 midway through the quarter. Ricky Hickman got a shooter’s roll on a triple. Viktor Sanikidze brought the visitors within 2, but Maccabi grabbed the momentum. James scored inside, Hickman penetrated for a layup and Pnini nailed a triple to make it 37-28. Daniel Hackett countered with a three, however Logan and Smith soon boosted the Tel Aviv advantage to double figures. Logan found Smith for a triple from the corner as the Nokia Arena crowd roared in appreciation. David Moss countered with a three-pointer, but Smith sank a pair of free throws with 1.1 seconds left in the half to make it 46-34 at the break.
Third quarter: Maccabi’s superb shooting continues as lead reaches 20
Ohayon further extended the lead with a layup to open the second half and then added a three-pointer. James wowed the crowd with a basket-plus-foul on back-to-back trips down the court, though he missed the free throws each time. Nevertheless, after a 9-1 start to the half, the Maccabi lead stood at 20. Moss countered with a triple. Then Pnini and Kangur traded threes. Ohayon went coast to coast for a layup and a 60-41 lead midway through the quarter. Sanikidze converted a three-point play, but it didn’t take long for Sylven Landesberg, with his first points, to set a new game-high lead at 66-45. Eze, with a three-point play, and Matt Janning from downtown at the buzzer narrowed the gap to 69-53 through three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Smith, Pnini pave the way to big win
Eze threw down a monster jam and added another bucket in the paint as Siena refused to quit. It took nearly three minutes for Maccabi to open its fourth-quarter account, but it did so in style with a basket-plus-foul from Pnini. Ohayon buried a jumper to keep the local fans singing. James tacked on another block before Smith buried a triple to restore a 20-point Maccabi lead. Pnini extended the lead to 79-57 from the line. James went to the bench to a standing ovation from the crowd. Smith connected from downtown for the fifth time and Pnini added more free throws to make it a 27-point game. Logan and Landesberg completed a 21-0 run before Janning ended an eight-minute Siena drought. By then the outcome was a forgone conclusion as Maccabi celebrated an important win.
Thursday, February 21, 2013