By Amy Samin
Thanks to a 29-8 fourth quarter for the record books, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv defeated Asseco Prokom Gdynia in Poland, 89-73. Ricky Hickman scored 20 points (3 of 4, 2 of 4 and 8 of 9), while Maccabi's new team captain Lior Eliyahu contributed 16 points and 5 assists. Yogev Ohayon and David Logan scored 14 and 12 respectively, and Devin Smith dished out no fewer than 8 assists. A win next week at home against Alba Berlin will guarantee Maccabi first place in Group B.
Starting the game for Maccabi were Shawn James, Devin Smith, Ricky Hickman, newly-appointed team captain Lior Eliyahu and Yogev Ohayon. Hickman got the scoring underway with a mid-range jumper but after two minutes the score was tied at 4. While Maccabi broke open a 10-6 lead off points by Eliyahu, Hickman and Malcolm Thomas, by the halfway mark in the period the Polish team had narrowed the gap to 12-10. The hosts went on to take the lead, keeping it through the end of the period, 19-15.
Points by Eliyahu and Smith (from downtown) brought Maccabi within two, 22-20 after a minute and a half. But Prokom kept their distance, leading 30-25 midway through the period. Eliyahu and Ohayon (for three from the left corner) scored for Maccabi, but the home team extended their lead to double digits with three minutes left in the half, 38-28. A dunk by Thomas, free throws by David Logan and Hickman, and a layup by Ohayon weren't enough, and the teams went into the halftime break with Prokom leading 42-35.
A huge three by Ohayon and points by Thomas put Maccabi within two, 42-40 but Prokom cruised to 51-42 after three minutes of play in the third period. Points from outside the arc by Hickman, along with two from the charity stripe, made it 55-49 after five minutes. Three pointers by Smith, Hickman and Logan made it 60-58 with just over a minute and a half left in the quarter, but Prokom once again built up their lead, and the period ended with the hosts leading 65-60.
Points by James, Eliyahu and Logan gave Maccabi the lead for the first time since the first quarter. Logan added another trey, while Eliyahu executed a steal + coast to coast dunk to make it 71-65 after three and a half minutes. Hickman's layup and 1 and points in the paint by James (assist Logan) gave Maccabi a ten point lead halfway through the period, 77-67. On the other end of the court, Maccabi's defense kicked into high gear, breaking plays and throwing off the Poles' offense with steals, blocks and defensive boards. James scored off multiple assists from Eliyahu and Logan added yet another trey; with just over two minutes remaining Maccabi's lead had grown to 86-70. In the end, after completely dominating the quarter (29-8), Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv defeated Asseco Prokom Gdynia 89-73.
Maccabi: Hickman 20 points, 3 assists; Eliyahu 16 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals; Ohayon 14 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals; Logan 12 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists; James 10 points, 2 blocks; Thomas 8 points, 2 blocks; Smith 6 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds; Caner-Medley 2 points; Shermadini 1 point.