Maccabi Electra secured at least a share of first place in Group C at the midway point of the regular season after beating Maroussi BC 75-67 in front of a packed house at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv. Andrew Wisniewski scored 20 and Maciej Lampe had a career-high 19 points plus 9 rebounds for the Israeli champs, who improved to 4-1. Maccabi next visits Union Olimpija. Maroussi fell to 1-4 and heads to face CSKA Moscow next week. Maroussi looked strong in the second quarter before the hosts relied on David Bluthenthal and Lampe for a 9-0 charge that gave Maccabi a 41-40 halftime lead. Maccabi slowly grew its lead throughout the second half and although Maroussi never went away, it could not mount a serious charge down the stretch. Maroussi’s biggest weapon was its 21 offensive rebounds, but that would prove to be not enough to register a road win in Tel Aviv. Billy Keys paced the visitors with 14 points and Jamon Lucas and Dimitrios Mavroeidis added 12 each in defeat.
Maroussi won the opening tip, but it was Maccabi that struck first, as Alan Anderson fed Lampe in the paint. Keys put Maroussi ahead with a three-pointer, but Lampe could not be stopped inside and kept the hosts going. Lucas showed his skills with a pair of quick baskets as Maroussi increased its lead to 7-10. Lampe went from scorer to provider, grabbing a Wisniewski miss and dishing to Anderson for a slam. Wisniewski followed with a steal and layup as Maccabi went back ahead. Maccabi’s defense produced another steal and layup, this time by Stephane Lasme, and the home crowd started rocking. Jared Homan quieted them with a score inside to tie the game and soon after he stripped Chuck Eidson, leading to a Lucas basket and a Maroussi lead. Doron Perkins assisted to Lasme to knot the game at 15-15. Both teams failed to convert in the last minute of the quarter, leaving the score deadlocked after 10 minutes.
D’Or Fischer came off the bench to start the second quarter and immediately made an impact, taking a pass from Eidson and sinking a baseline jumper. Keys shined with an acrobatic drive and a three-pointer to keep Maroussi level. Perkins and Mavroeidis traded baskets and then Eidson and Igor Milosevits swapped layups as the scoreboard showed 24-24 midway through the quarter. The visitors went ahead on a Mavroeidis basket, but Perkins responded for Maccabi. Mavroeidis sayed hot with a basket-plus-foul and then Kucas went through the Maccabi defense to increase the Maroussi lead to 6. Wisniewski hit back for Maccabi only to see Stevan Nadjfeji score his first points for Maroussi from downtown to make it 28-35. Pat Calathes also hit from behind the arc to stretch the lead to 8 before Lampe scored inside. Maccabi further trimmed the deficit on free throws by Wisniewski and Lampe and then David Bluthenthal made it a 1-point game with a triple from the corner. Lampe beat the buzzer for a tip-in to cap a 9-0 run and give Maccabi a 41-40 halftime edge.
Michalis Pelekanos put Maroussi on top again with a triple to open the second half. Wisniewski took charge with a drive through the Maroussi defense and then a steal and dish to Lampe for an alley-oop. Lampe then fed a cutting Bluthenthal for a basket-plus-foul, though the shooter did miss the resulting free throw for the first time this season. Kostas Kaimakoglou narrowed the gap before Wisniewski produced a steal and easy layup. Lampe fired in a three to establish a career high in points already, 19, and Guy Pnini sank a fadeaway jumper to stretch the lead to 8. Homan scored inside and Nadjfej sank a pair of free throws to keep it close. Keys fed Lucas to cut the gap to 2, but Eidson wowed the crowed with a circus shot-plus-foul. Pnini finished a fast break with a layup and Perkins rejected Keys on the final play as Maccabi took a 61-54 lead into the fourth quarter.
The two teams traded miscues early in the deciding period before Milosevits drilled a long jumper to give Maroussi hope. Wisniewski responded with a three that kept Maccabi in control. Lucas added to Maroussi’s offensive rebound tally with a second-chance basket. Pnini picked up a loose ball underneath, drew a foul and sank 2 free throws and then Wisniewski stole the ball, drew a foul and sank 2 free throws as the Maccabi lead hit 9. Maroussi would not quit as Mavroeidis scored another second-chance basket in the paint. Wisniewski darted through the Maroussi defense for a basket, but Keys bettered him with a three that made it 70-64. However Maroussi would not get any closer. Milosevits fouled out and Anderson sank the resulting free throws. Lasme also fouled out for Maccabi, but Maroussi was unable to capitalize as Maccabi hung on in the final minute to secure the win.
Thursday, November 26, 2009