By Amy Samin
They gave their all, fighting all the way, but Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv suffered another loss in the Euroleague Top 16, this time to favorites FC Barcelona Regal 82-77. In order for them to advance to the Top 8, they will have to win all of their remaining games. Ricky Hickman led all scorers with 19 points; Shawn James added 16 points. Yogev Ohayon and Devin Smith each contributed 11 points.
Starters for Maccabi were Yogev Ohayon, Nik Caner-Medley, Devin Smith, Shawn James and Ricky Hickman. Points by Hickman and Caner-Medley got things started for Maccabi with layups by the former and an assist (to Smith for the trey) and great defense by the latter. Smith added a stop and pop that put Maccabi's lead at 9-2. Barcelona had little trouble narrowing the gap, and with five and a half minutes on the clock the score was 9-7. The lead changed hands repeatedly over the next few minutes with points by Smith and Planinic keeping Maccabi close. With 1:20 remaining, David Logan drained a three from the left wing that put Maccabi back on top, 19-18. Ohayon added a three from the corner and the period ended with Maccabi in the lead, 22-20.
Logan scored again from downtown to start the second quarter, but Barcelona soon retook the lead, 30-25 after four minutes of action. A smooth floater by Sylven Landesberg and a putback slam by James made it 30-29 at the halfway mark. Maccabi continued to play tough defense and stayed close with buckets by Logan, Hickman and James, who scored following a steal by Guy Pnini. A three pointer from Hickman tied the score at 39 with a minute and a half left in the half, but Juan Carlos Navarro scored what was only his second bucket of the game and the teams went into halftime with the Spaniards leading 41-39.
Barcelona opened strong and quick in the early minutes of the third quarter, jumping to 47-39 in less than two minutes. James, Hickman and Ohayon all scored to keep Maccabi in the action, 55-49 near the halfway mark. Maccabi battled hard on defense but couldn't grab the defensive boards, and the period ended with the visitors leading 67-53.
Points from the charity stripe by James and a steal by Logan/layup by Ohayon gave Maccabi some momentum as the fourth quarter got underway, but Barcelona quickly remedied that, bumping up their lead to 70-57. A three by Pnini cut the deficit to ten, but once again the Spaniards reopened their lead, 78-67 with two and a half minutes left. A dunk by James once again put the differential at ten, 80-70. Five straight by Hickman cut the Spaniards' lead to 80-75 with :46 left. Maccabi's defense forced a shot clock violation, and Hickman scored with :16 left; 80-77. But two points from the foul line was just enough cushion to give Barcelona an 82-77 win over Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv in week seven of the Euroleague Top 16.