By Amy Samin
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv defeated Union Olimpija Ljubljana 82-73 at Menora Mivtachim Arena in the team's first-ever Eurocup game. Devin Smith was named MVP with 19 points and 6 rebounds. Taylor Rochestie led Maccabi's scorers with 20 points, Trevor Mbakwe contributed 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Brian Randle scored 10 points.
Starters for Maccabi were Brian Randle, Devin Smith, Sylven Landesberg, Taylor Rochestie, and Arinze Onuaku. Although Maccabi scored first, the visitors quickly took the lead. Rochestie and Trevor Mbakwe tried to keep Maccabi in the game, but the first quarter ended with Ljubljana leading 20-16.
Points by Mbakwe put Maccabi within two, 20-18 in the first minute of the second quarter, but the visitors soon responded. Landesberg and Mbakwe combined to tie the score at 22 three minutes inti the period, but two unanswered baskets by Ljubljana led Coach Tabak to call for a time out. Smith, Landesberg, and Rochestie combined to tie the score at 28, and points in the paint by Randle (assist Rochestie) put Maccabi up for the first time since the start of the game, 30-28 with three minutes left in the half. The visitors didn't let the yellows increase their lead by much, until back to back dunks by Smith, a layup by Landesberg, and a Rochestie steal that ended with a stop and pop near the foul line ended the half with Maccabi up 40-35.
Points by Randle, Rochestie, and Mbakwe put Maccabi's lead at 48-39 two minutes into the second half. Ljubljana tried to get back into the game, but another bucket and 1 by Randle, along with 5 points from Smith, made it 58-46 with four and a half minutes left in the period. Ike Ofoegbu added a putback, Guy Pnini scored on the fast break, and another triple by Smith led to a time out called by the visitors, with Maccabi up 65-50 and two and a half minutes on the clock. Jordan Farmar and Ofoegbu made it 73-58 going into the final period.
The fourth quarter got off to a slow start at both ends of the court, with Randle and Mbakwe scoring in the paint and Rochestie draining another bucket from downtown, 80-63 halfway through the period. The visitors didn't give up, running to 80-71 with 2:20 on the clock, but a coast to coast layup by Smith stopped the run. In the end Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv defeated Union Olimpija Ljubljana 82-73.