By Amy Samin
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv will be returning to Israel with an 83 – 63 victory over Union Olimpija Ljubljana in the Adriatic League. David Blu led Maccabi’s scorers with 17 points off nearly perfect shooting, including 3 of 4 from three point range. Richard Hendrix delivered 14 points and 10 rebounds for a double double, and Theo Papaloukas handed out 6 assists.
Yogev Ohayon, Keith Langford, Richard Hendrix, Lior Eliyahu and Guy Pnini started the game for Maccabi. The Slovenians opened the game with two three pointers and after two and a half minutes led 6 – 2. Langford and Devin Smith scored to narrow the gap, and a bucket and 1 by Theo Papaloukas made it 11 – 9 with four minutes left in the period. Smith tied the score at 14 from the foul line with less than a minute left, but the home team went up by two. David Blu drained a three at the buzzer (assist Papaloukas) to put Maccabi up 17 – 16.
Smith and Papaloukas combined to put Maccabi up 23 – 18 three minutes into the second period. A steal by Smith resulted in points by Langford, and Blu shot a trey and a deuce off dishes from Smith and Langford to put the lead in double digits, 33 – 22 just past the halfway mark in the period. Hendrix added great defense and points from the charity stripe and in the paint, to make it 39 – 27, but Union Olimpija managed a few quick buckets before time ran out, and the teams went into halftime with Maccabi leading 39 – 34.
Sofo Schortsanitis opened the third quarter with a dunk, then added four more points before being replaced by Hendrix, who immediately added a dunk of his own (assist Ohayon) to make it 51 – 41 with four and a half minutes left on the clock. Blu added another catch-and-shoot from downtown (assist Papaloukas) and points from the foul line to make it 57 – 43, but the Slovenians fought to stay in the game, pulling within ten, 59 – 49 with less than a minute left in the period. Mallet’s three from the left corner at the buzzer (assist Papaloukas) ended the quarter with Maccabi up 63 – 49.
Maccabi opened strong in the fourth quarter with excellent game management by Papaloukas. A minute and a half into the period Mallet sank another three (assist Blu) to extend Maccabi’s lead to 66 – 51. A smooth dish by Papaloukas to Pnini resulted in a three pointer that put Maccabi up 71 – 55. Hendrix added four straight off dimes from Smith and Jon Scheyer and Maccabi’s lead grew to twenty, 75 – 55 halfway through the period. The home team battled back, cutting that lead to twelve before a putback dunk by Hendrix took the wind out of their sails with two minutes left in the game. The remaining points were scored by Hendrix (jumper from the top of the key) and Eliyahu (two free throws and a layup) to give Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv an 83 – 63 victory over Union Olimpija Ljubljana in the Adriatic League.
Maccabi: Blu 17 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists; Hendrix 14 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals; Schortsanitis 11 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal; Smith 10 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal; Langford 7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists; Papaloukas 6 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds; Eliyahu 6 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist; Mallet 6 points, 1 steal; Pnini 6 points, 1 rebound; Ohayon 4 rebounds, 1 assist; Scheyer 1 assist; Burstein 1 assist.
Top scorers for Union Olimpija: Jeretin 18 points; Thompson 13 points.