By Amy Samin
Maccabi head coach Pini Gershon showed his support for Yaniv Green following the forward’s excellent game at home earlier this week, and gave him a slot in the starting lineup, along with Omri Casspi, D’or Fischer, Tal Burstein and Carlos Arroyo.
Maccabi gave their hosts a free hand from outside the arc, and
Lior Eliyahu’s entrance into the game changed the momentum; his 7 straight points helped put Maccabi back in the lead, 22 – 16 with a minute left in the quarter.
Two missed shots by Arroyo were answered with baskets by Diener and Antonio Porta, and the quarter ended with Maccabi holding on to a slim 22 – 20 lead.
The second quarter started off badly for Maccabi, with missed shots and turnovers.
Fortunately, the Italians were similarly disorganized, and Maccabi was able to maintain their lead, 26 – 23 two minutes into the period.
The game continued to seesaw, with Maccabi playing well, then less so; Arroyo, who had a rare off-night, missed shots and made some bad calls, while Avellino scored several three-pointers, tying the score 32 – 32 with four minutes left in the half.
With Dror Hagag in as point guard, the Israeli’s offense looked to Fischer and Green, who brought Maccabi’s lead up to 42 – 37 with a minute left.
Hagag made full use of the time remaining, engineering a steal and two assists (one of which led to team captain Derrick Sharp scoring his first three-pointer in Euroleague play this season), and the half ended with Maccabi up by 8, 48 – 40.
Eliyahu and Green scored early in the third quarter, giving Maccabi their first double-digit lead of the game, 54 – 44, three minutes into the second half.
While Arroyo continued to struggle, almost everything Eliyahu put up found the basket, keeping Maccabi in the lead.
With four and a half minutes left in the quarter, Brown scored from outside the arc, bringing the score to 61 – 47 and leading
Maccabi came out slow after the break, and the hosts were able to close the lead to 10, 64 – 54 with a minute and a half left in the period.
A basket by Best dropped Maccabi’s lead back to a single digit at the buzzer, 65 – 56.
A three-pointer and a basket off a fast break by Brown started off the fourth quarter just the way Maccabi like it.
Fischer joined in the fun with a basket from near the top of the key, and the pair brought Maccabi’s lead up to 72 – 58, forcing the
Maccabi was hampered by Arroyo’s bad night, and after five minutes of play in the fourth period
Maccabi was able to maintain their double digit lead, however; with three minutes left in the game, the score stood at 76 – 66.
Gershon put Hagag back in for the remainder of the game, and an all-Israeli five took care of business, giving Maccabi a vital win - their first away victory in the Euroleague this season, 86 – 72.
Brown 26 points; Eliyahu 18 points, 10 assists; Fischer 17 points, 10 assists; Green 14 points, 7 rebounds; Sharp 3 points; Burstein, Arroyo, Casspi and Hagag 2 points each.
Avellino: Best 17 points; Slay 14 points; Tusek 13 points; Diener 9 points; Crosariol 8 points; Warren 5 points;
Porta 4 points; Cinciarini 2 points.