Maccabi Electra crushed Union Olimpija 104-67
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv registered a pivotal win in Top 16 Group F by thrashing Union Olimpija 104-67 in front of a sellout crowd at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel on Thursday night. Jeremy Pargo led the winners with 21 points. Lior Eliyahu added 20 on 10-of-10 two-pointers, tying a Turkish Airlines Euroleague record with three other players for most shots made in a game without a miss. Tal Burstein and Sofoklis Schortsianitis each had 10 for Maccabi. Giorgi Shermadini led Olimpija with 15 points. Kenny Gregory and Damir Markota each added 14 for the guests. Maccabi dominated the boards and made 11 of 13 two-pointers in the first quarter as Eliyahu and Pargo led the hosts to a 28-10 lead after 10 minutes. A layup by Schortsianitis capped a 16-0 run that broke the game open at 37-10. Olimpija tried to change things with a 0-10 run, but an outstanding Eliyahu allowed Maccabi to keep a 49-26 halftime edge. Nothing changed after the break, as Maccabi boosted its margin to 71-39 late in the third quarter and kept a safe lead all the way until the final buzzer.
Both teams struggled to score in the early going until Chuck Eidson split free throws. Schortsianitis soon added a layup for a 3-0 Maccabi lead. Olimpija was held scoreless for more than two minutes until Gregory hit a foul shot. A driving layup by Vlado Ilievski tied things at 3-3. Eliyahu dunked off the baseline and added a fast break layup to give the hosts a 7-3 lead. Maccabi had fully adjusted its man-to-man defense and Eliyahu scored again, but free throws by Shermadini kept the guests within 9-5. Richard Hendrix took over with a power slam and Eidson fed Eliyahu for a huge dunk that forced Olimpija to call timeout at 13-5. Eidson shined with a fast break dunk that Ilievski bettered with a three-pointer to keep his team within 15-8. Pargo stepped up with 4 points in a 6-0 run that boosted the hosts' lead to 21-8. Goran Jagodnik sank a fallaway jumper that Pargo matched with a wild basket off a spin move. A put-back layup by Doron Perkins and a seven-meter bomb by David Blu gave Maccabi a 28-10 margin after 10 minutes.
An uncontested layup by Hendrix made it a 20-point game early in the second quarter. Olimpija could not find the way to the basket, so it tried twin point guards with Ilievski and Marque Perry together on court to improve its ball circulation. Guy Pnini sank free throws and a layup by Schortsianitis broke the game open. A free throw by Perkins and a power layup by Schortsianitis capped a 16-0 run for a 37-10 lead. Gregory shined with an acrobatic basket and free throws by Shermadini got Olimpija going. Ilievski and Markota nailed back-to-back triples to cap a 0-10 Olimpija run, 37-20. Perkins answered from downtown and a follow-up layup by Eliyahu kept Maccabi out of trouble at 42-20. Eliyahu stayed on fire with a wild dunk that Markota improved with a circus shot from downtown. Eidson and Gregory traded free throws and Eliyahu scored again for a 47-24 Maccabi lead. A layup by Jagodnik and a running basket by Pargo fixed the halftime score at 49-26.
Olimpija improved its defense after the break, as Maccabi started to run the game clock down. Schortsianitis scored in the paint but Markota answered with a backdoor layup. Kevinn Pinkney found his first points on free throws but a dunk by Eliyahu kept Maccabi way ahead, 53-30. Pargo nailed a baseline shot that Gregory matched with a step-back jumper but Olimpija only managed to trade baskets now. Perkins shined with an alleyoop layup and Eliyahu scored in transition for a 27-point Maccabi lead, 59-32. Pargo followed free throws with a three-pointer and Eidson soon added a layup to boost Maccabi's lead to 66-34. Pargo sent the crowd to their feet with a bomb from downtown and even when Gregory scored in the other end, an easy basket by Eliyahu restored a 71-39 Maccabi lead. Ozbolt joined the three-point shootout and Gregory added a floating layup off a timeout. Shermadini dunked it and Ozbolt buried a rainbow triple to get Olimpija within 71-49 after 30 minutes.
Pnini downed a corner three-pointer early in the fourth quarter, as Maccabi's defense made the guests go scoreless for almost 2 minutes. Shermadini made free throws but a second-chance layup by Blu gave the hosts a 76-51 lead. Ozbolt found Markota for an alleyoop layup, as Olimpija kept fighting to trim its deficit. Blu and Shermadini traded baskets but a fallaway jumper Milan Macvan made Maccabi keep an 80-55 margin. Burstein followed a stop-and-pop jumper with free throws and a layup by Schortsianitis boosted Maccabi's lead to 86-55 with over 4 minutes left. Olimpija did not give up but everything was said and done already. Maccabi pleased its fans with a very convincing home win by a wide margin - a critical issue in the Top 16. Olimpija must bounce back right away, safe in the knowledge that the basketball atmosphere will be very different when both teams meet again at Stozice Arena in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Thursday, February 3, 2011