Hunter lifts Maccabi at finish over Fenerbahce
Othello Hunter scored a layup in traffic with 2.6 second left on the clock to lift Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv to a thrilling 77-78 win over Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul on Friday night. The victory lifted Maccabi's record to 16-8 record for a share of all-important fourth place in the standings with CKSA Moscow. Fenerbahce dropped to 11-13. Neither team led by more than 8 points the entire night. They traded leads throughout the first three quarters, before Maccabi pulled away to 63-71 with 6 minutes to go. But Fenerbahce rallied and the game went down to the wire. Fenerbahce led twice by a single point in the final 65 seconds, but Hunter's layup, straight off an inbounds pass from Angelo Caloiaro, sent Maccabi home victorious. Hunter and Deni Avdija were Maccabi's top scorers, each finishing with 13 points. Aaron Jackson had 12 and Quincy Acy 11. Derrick Williams paced Fenerbahce with 22 points to go with 6 rebounds. Kostas Sloukas and Nikola Kalinic scored 18 points apiece, and Jan Vesely collected 12 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals in the losing effort.
Hunter and Acy combined to score the first 10 points for the visitors, but Fenerbahce did the damage, too, with its big men Vesely and Williams, before Sloukas hit three-pointer that opened a 15-10 lead. Fenerbahce remained efficient inside, with baskets from Kalinic and Vesely, but Jackson hit from downtown for the visitors, as did Tyler Dorsey, for a 23-20 score after 10 minutes. Avdija put on a show early in the second quarter, sinking a pair of triples and detonating a monster dunk over Luigi Datome to put Maccabi ahead 27-30. Jackson's three-point play and jumper stretched the lead to 31-37, but Fenerbahce answered with a 7-0 run, which included a three-point play from Sloukas, as Maccabi went into the break up 40-41. the teams traded blows early in the third. Kalinic had a triple and a dunk, capping a 7-0 run to make it 52-46, before Bryant had a pair of baskets and Hunter a three-point play in a 0-9 Maccabi run that restored the visitors' lead, 52-55 midway through the quarter. Leads changed hands eight more times the rest of the quarter, mostly from the free throw line, as Maccabi held onto a 63-64 edge going into the fourth. The visitors opened that quarter with a 0-7 run capped by a triple from Avdija, to make it 63-71. Fenerbahce needed more than 4 minutes to score in the fourth quarter until Kalinic's three-pointer cut the difference to 68-73. The hosts' rally continued with Williams driving for a dunk and Westermann sinking a second-chance triple to restore their lead at 75-74. Dorsey downed a jumper, but Sloukas made 2 free throws with 4.0 seconds left to put Fenerbahce up 77-76. That's when Caloiaro inbounded a lob pass for Hunter, who fought inside to bank a layup and lift Maccabi to victory.
Leads and ties
How tight was this game? Neither team held a lead bigger than 8 points. There were 15 ties and 22 lead changes, including one tie and three lead changes in the final 65 seconds of the game.
Down to the wire
This is third time in the last four seasons that a game in Istanbul between these two teams is decided on the last shot. Last season, Kostas Sloukas hit a buzzer-beating triple to lift Fenerbahce to come-from-behind 78-75 win, and three seasons ago Maccabi won 79-81 on a last-second jumper from Sylven Landesberg.
If 19-year-old Deni Avdija already had a coming-out EuroLeague party, he repeated it against Fenerbahce. Avdija scored 8 of his career-high 13 points in the second quarter, when he strung together a triple, a monster dunk over Luigi Datome, and another triple. He finished the night making 3 of 4 two-pointers and 3 of 6 shots from downtown. Avdija also had 3 rebounds and 2 assists.
Fenerbahce had 7-0 advantage on offensive glass in the fourth quarter, including 6 in the opening 4 minutes of the quarter. However, Fenerbahce was scoreless during that span, missing a total of 11 field goal tries. The only basket an offensive rebound produced for Fenerbahce in the fourth quarter was a triple by Westermann with 1:05 left.
Teams will return to action in Round 25 after a one-week break. Fenerbahce will be at home welcoming Real Madrid on February 20, and a day later Maccabi will visit Valencia.
Friday, February 7, 2020