In a night full of drama and emotions at Nokia arena, Maccabi Tel Aviv edged Panathinaikos 76-73 and finished second in group B (8-6). Maccabi will be number 2 seed in the top 16 draw this Monday at Barcelona.
Maccabi lifted by the fans and the hero was the never-ending captain, Derrick Sharp, who scored 18 points including some key baskets and 8 for 8 from the line. Halperin had a good night with 10 points, Vujcic and Burstein added 9 points and 4 assists each. Lior Eliyahu had a great fourth quarter and Goran Jeretin, in his Maccabi debut, played 7 minutes, showed lot of fighting spirit and scored 2 points.
Maccabi got off to a bad start and let the greens ran to a big lead, 24-12 at the end of the first quarter. Halperin nailed a triple that made it 19-24, Jeretin came off the bench and added aggressiveness, and the yellow crowd got into the game. Pao ran 7-0 to finish the half with a 37-33 lead.
Maccabi took charge with a 12-0 ran at the beginning of the fourth quarter using Panathinaikos 5 minute drought. Eliyahu, that until that point had a quiet game, scored some big baskets and had a huge block. Obradovic received a technical foul arguing a call with 27 seconds left and Sharp sealed the win from the line, 76-73.