By Amy Samin
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv has won the sixth European championship of the club's history, after defeating real Madrid 98-86 in a thrilling game that went into overtime. Tyrese Rice, who scored 26 points, was named MVP of the Final Four. Ricky Hickman contributed 18 points, Devin Smith added 15 points, David Blu scored 14 points and Alex Tyus had 12 points.
Maccabi's starters were Devin Smith, Ricky Hickman, Guy Pnini, Yogev Ohayon and Sofoklis Schortsanitis. Real Madrid opened the game with a three pointer by Rudy Fernandez, but Sofo, Ohayon and Smith responded, putting Maccabi up 8-5 halfway through the period. Five straight points by Smith extended Maccabi's lead to 13-7 with two and a half minutes left. Real Madrid went on a 9-0 scoring run that put them up 16-13, but a bucket by Alex Tyus ended the period with Maccabi down by only one, 16-15.
Real Madrid launched another run at the start of the second quarter, reaching 26-15 after three and a half minutes. David Blu and Tyrese Rice combined to cut the deficit to 26-20 thirty seconds later, but the Spaniards reopened their lead to eleven, 33-22 with less than four minutes left in the half. Rice and Hickman narrowed the gap a bit, and then Blu took charge in the final minutes of the period, scoring from downtown and the foul line, then adding another trey at the buzzer to put Maccabi within two, 35-33 going into the halftime break.
The second half opened with a three pointer by Fernandez, but Sofo responded with a bucket and one, and Smith and Hickman combined for five to put Maccabi up by one, 41-40. Real Madrid reclaimed the lead, but Smith with points from downtown and Hickman with six points made it 46-45 Maccabi with three minutes left in the period. Real Madrid stayed close, then claimed a 55-53 lead as the quarter came to an end.
Tyus tied the score with a slam (assist Blu) at the start of the fourth quarter, and Hickman (layup) and Rice (three pointer) made it 60-58 Maccabi. Sofo fouled out in the middle of the period, while the Spaniards ran up a 67-63 lead. Hickman, Rice and Tyus put Maccabi back on top 69-67, but Real continued to battle. Blu and Rice combined to make it 73-69 Maccabi with less than a minute on the clock, but Madrid tied things up 73-73 from the foul line, and the game went into overtime.
Two triples and points from the foul line by Rice gave Maccabi an 81-77 lead with three minutes left in the extra period. Real pulled within two, but an alley oop by Rice to Tyus and free throws by Rice and Hickman gave Maccabi a comfortable 88-79 lead with just over a minute remaining. Real Madrid tried to get back into the game by fouling, but more points from the charity stripe by Tyus, Rice and Hickman and an emphatic dunk by Ohayon as time ran out gave Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv a 98-86 victory over Real Madrid and the Euroleague Championship for 2014!