By Amy Samin
French Champions Elan Chalon gave Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv a run for their money in a hard-fought game at Nokia Arena that ended in a 78-73 victory for the home team in week 8 of the Euroleague. Devin Smith (19 points), David Logan (17 points) and Shawn James (10 points and 9 rebounds) all scored crucial points in money-time that aided in the victory and kept Maccabi's hopes alive of finishing in the number one spot in Group B.
Starters for Maccabi were Devin Smith, Ricky Hickman, Shawn James, Yogev Ohayon and Lior Eliyahu. The visitors scored first but it didn't take long for Maccabi to respond. After two minutes the hosts led 6-3. Chalon stayed close, though, tying the score and then taking the lead. Maccabi's defense stole the ball several times, and Smith fired off a string of three treys to make it 15-10, Maccabi. Points by Eliyahu expanded the lead to seven, but Chalon answered with three straight from downtown plus a two-fer that gave them the lead, 21-20 and led Coach Blatt to call for a time out. The visitors held on to the lead until the end of the period, which ended with the score 26-24.
Nik Caner-Medley scored to open the second quarter, but Chalon went on a rampage, outscoring the home team 9-0 in the first four minutes of the period, 35-26. Eliyahu, Logan (from outside the arc, assist Smith), and Giorgi Shermadini (fastbreak dish from Ohayon) narrowed the gap to 38-33 with three minutes remaining in the quarter. Although Maccabi battled for rebounds on defense, the French were able to hold on to the lead going into halftime, 43-38.
Maccabi came out in the third quarter ready to get down to business. Points by Hickman, James, Smith and Eliyahu made it 49-46 after three minutes of play. But the French bounced back, building up their lead to 56-48 by the halfway mark in the period. Once again Maccabi got back in the game, thanks to a putback dunk by Malcolm Thomas, a steal plus layup by Smith, and a drive in the lane by Ohayon, which brought the score to a tie at 56 all with under two minutes left in the period. The quarter ended with Chalon up by two, 60-58.
The fourth quarter got underway with back to back steals by Ohayon, the second leading to a dunk by Logan. Smith added a reverse layup and James added a block on defense and a dunk off a dime from Hickman to put Maccabi up 64-62 with three and a half minutes gone in the period. A three by Logan on the right wing gave Maccabi some breathing room, and James added a tip in, making it 69-65 with just over four minutes left in the game. Logan and Smith added more points, and James delivered two slams off assists by Eliyahu. In the end, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv defeated Elan Chalon 78-73.
Maccabi: Smith 19 points; Logan 17 points; James 10 points, 9 rebounds; Eliyahu (7 assists) and Hickman 8 points each; Caner-Medley 6 points; Ohayon and Shermadini 4 points each; Thomas 2 points.