By Amy Samin
Lior Eliyahu (28 points, 7 rebounds) and Richard Hendrix (25 points, 8 rebounds) completely dominated the game against the Serbians, leading Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv to an impressive 85 – 64 victory barely 24 hours after the team defeated Maccabi Bazan Haifa in the Israeli League. Young Idan Zalmanson once again saw playing time, this time against a European team, and acquitted himself well in eleven minutes of play. This coming Wednesday, Maccabi will face Regal Barcelona in Spain for the final game of the Euroleague Top 16; both teams are already slated to advance to the Top 8 quarterfinals.The starters for Maccabi were team captain Tal Burstein, Yogev Ohayon, Demond Mallet, Lior Eliyahu, and Richard Hendrix. The visitors opened strong and jumped to a 7 – 2 lead in the early minutes of the first quarter. Lior Eliyahu scored twice in quick succession; first off a long pass by Tal Burstein, and then a layup, to make it a one point game, and Hendrix gave Maccabi the lead with points in the paint. Hemofarm didn’t give up, but twice after they scored it was Hendrix who returned the lead to Maccabi, 12 – 11 midway through the period. Mladen Pantić single-handedly gave Hemofarm a 16 – 12 lead, but a steal by Jon Scheyer (who finished the night with 4) was followed by a deuce from Devin Smith to stop the run. With the ice broken, Eliyahu, Guy Pnini and David Blu scored to keep Maccabi in the game and the quarter ended in a 20 – 20 tie.
As the second quarter got underway, Blu’s points from the charity stripe put Maccabi up for good, 24 – 22. Theo Papaloukas crafted a wily fake pass/drive to the basket and added a layup (assist Pnini) on the next possession. A steal by Papaloukas went to Pnini for a bomb of a pass to Eliyahu waiting patiently under the basket at the other end, 30 – 22 Maccabi three minutes into the period. Eliyahu scored again off a dime from Pnini and added the extra point as well, as the forward continued to dominate on offense for Maccabi. Hendrix added a hook shot in the paint and Ohayon’s give and go with Blu put the lead in double digits, 42 – 32. Eliyahu stole the ball and got it to Ohayon, who dished to Mallet at the top of the arc for a trey that made it 47 – 33 with a minute left in the half. Hemofarm scored twice in quick succession and the half ended with Maccabi leading 47 – 37.
Ohayon inaugurated the third quarter by picking Nemanja Dangubić’s pocket, and Hendrix faked out his defender and slammed home a dunk, 49 – 37. Mallet battled under the basket for an offensive rebound and added two more, and Hendrix soon added a putback dunk to make it 53 – 37 three minutes into the period. A three pointer by Dangubić were the only points scored by the visitors in the first seven minutes of the period, while Hendrix continued to score at will and Pnini added two from the foul line, 59 – 40. Mladen Jeremić broke the run, but Eliyahu scored and later dished to Scheyer for a layup that made it 63 – 47, while Papaloukas continued to harass Hemofarm’s offense by breaking up plays and stealing the ball. The period ended with Maccabi leading 66 – 50.
Papaloukas continued his crime spree at the start of the fourth quarter with yet another steal (he had 6 on the night); he later dished to Pnini for a deuce. Pnini soon added three from the right corner (assist Idan Zalmanson) and two quick scores by Eliyahu (including one off another assist by Zalmanson) to make it 75 – 52 with six minutes left in the game. Hendrix went on a seven point scoring binge, Zalmanson rejected a shot by Đorđe Gagić and pulled down an offensive rebound, and Hendrix racked up several more boards for his collection; with two minutes left it was 82 – 56, Maccabi. Hemofarm kept fighting until the end, but a one-handed putback and a block by Hendrix ended the game, giving Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv an 85 – 64 win over Hemofarm STADA of Serbia in the Adriatic League.
Maccabi: Eliyahu 28 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 assist; Hendrix 25 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks; Pnini 8 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal; Mallet 6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists; Blu 5 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists; Papaloukas 4 points, 4 assists, 6 steals, 1 rebound; Smith 4 points, 3 rebounds 1 steal, 1 assist; Scheyer 3 points, 4 steals; Ohayon 2 points, 2 steals, 2 assists; Zalmanson 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks; Burstein 1 rebound, 1 assist.
Maraš 15 points; Gagić 14 points; Pantić 12 points.
Top scorers for Hemofarm: