By Amy Samin
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv suffered their first loss of the preseason in the semi-final game of the Gomelsky Cup Tournament against Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, 71-61.Maccabi will face the loser the game between CSKA Moscow and Panathinaikos on Sunday at 16:00. Devin Smith led Maccabi's scorers with 16 points.
Starters for Maccabi were Shawn James, Devin Smith, Tyrese Rice, Joe Ingles and Ricky Hickman. The early minutes of the game were close, with Smith, James and Ingles scoring to keep Maccabi in the game: 14-14 halfway through the period. Ingles, Rice and Yogev Ohayon scored to give Maccabi a 25-21 lead at the end of the period.
The Russians opened strong in the second quarter, taking a 27-27 lead after three minutes of play. Maccabi Electra struggled to find the basket, but five quick points by Sofo Schortsanitis helped get Maccabi back on track, tying the score at 35 with just over a minute and a half left in the half. Kuban surged ahead on two straight three pointers, and the teams went into the break with the Russians leading 43-35.
Kuban quickly expanded their lead to double digits as the third quarter got underway, but Ohayon and Smith scored to keep Maccabi close, 47-40 three minutes into the period. The Russians quickly took back control of the game, and the period ended with Lokomotiv Kuban leading 58-46.
In the fourth quarter Maccabi gradually trimmed away the deficit, thanks in part to points by Smith, who scored five straight to make it 62-55. But Kuban remained in control of the game, and came away with a 71-61 victory over Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv.