Rishon and tops Ulm in OT thriller
Maccabi Rishon LeZion climbed into fifth place to say goodbye to its first 7DAYS EuroCup with a 96-92 overtime win against visiting ratiopharm Ulm on Wednesday. Both teams had previously been eliminated from Top 16 contention. Rishon finished 2-8 in Group A and dropped Ulm to 1-9 and last place. Rishon drilled 7 triples in the first half and led by a high of 35-20 midway through the second quarter but Ulm worked its way back to take a 69-81 lead late in the fourth quarter. Adam Ariel's fifth three-pointer sent the game to overtime at 83-83 and James Kelly provided the final push to get the job done. Kelly had a monster double-double of 27 points and 14 rebounds to lead the winners. Ariel added 18 points on 5-for-10 three-point shooting. Jordan Swing followed with 16 points and Noam Dovrat chipped in 11. Teen sensation Killian Hayes posted a season- and career-high 25 points to lead Ulm. Tyler Harvey added 18, Andrea Obst 16 and Seth Hinrichs 11 for the visitors.
Rishon made the first big move on the scoreboard with an a 13-0 run to break a 10-10 tie as Kelly climbed into double figures and Noam Dvorat buried a triple to make it 23-10. Rishon's defense continued to do the job and keep the lead at 24-12 after 10 minutes. Ulm was held to 2 points in almost 7 minutes before Andreas Obst hit the visitors' first triple in 8 attempts at 26-15. Adam Ariel of Rishon and Per Guenther kept the three-pointers dropping until Gavin Schilling brought the visitors within 29-20. Rishon kept firing from deep, with Ariel hitting 2 more, Tishman and Jordan Swing one each as the lead climbed again to 42-29. But Hayes was hot for Ulm and his three-pointer late was followed by a steal and buzzer-beater from Harvey to suddenly leave a 44-37 halftime score. Obst returned after the break with a long-range swish at 44-40. Hamilton and Dovrat answered in kind as Rishon went up 52-44, but soon Obst was back firing away to make it 53-52. Hinrichs completed the comeback at the foul line and Hayes blasted a triple to make it 53-57. Kelly took charge to forge a 59-59 tie, but Harvey broke it from the arc and added scoop shot to let Ulm lead 61-66 after 30 minutes. Obst's fourth three-pointer was followed by another by Patrick Heckmann, lifting Ulm's lead to 65-72. Swing and Kelly drew Rishon within 69-72, but Harvey, Grant Jerrett and finally Hayes combined on the next 7 points for Ulm's first double-digit lead, 69-79. Swing came alive for Rishon with 2 late three-pointers, making it 80-81 with 34.6 seconds remaining. An offensive rebound by Hinrichs led to Harvey's 2 free throws with 9 seconds left. Rishon then got the ball to Ariel, who drilled it from the corner to force overtime at 83-83. Hamilton's triple gave Rishon an 89-85 lead early in the extra session. Harvey and Obst were able to tie it, 89-89. Kelly would have the last would, however, with 2 free throws and his second steal-and-dunk combination in a few minutes to make it 93-89 and put the game out of reach.
Playing in just his second EuroCup game, Kelly put up incredible numbers. He hit 12 of 16 two-point shots on the way to 27 points. He had 13 of his 14 rebounds on defense. And he also picked up 4 assists and 4 steals. His big plays included a pair of steal-and-dunk combos, one in the fourth quarter and another in overtime, that helped prove the difference. Simply put, Kelly was The Man from start to finish in this game.
Two players born in the 2000s started the game, 17-year-old Noam Dovrat for Rishon and 18-year-old Killian Hayes for Ulm. Dovrat got to 6 points quickly but by halftime, Hayes had more than doubled him as the game's best scorer until then with 14 points. Dovrat went into double digits late in the third quarter, by which time Hayes was up to 17 on his way to a team-high 25. Hayes made his first 4 three-pointers and dished 5 assists as well. Fans will want to keep an eye on both players in the decade to come.
Ulm's high lead of 69-81 came on a free throw by Hayes with under 3 minutes left. That's when Rishon's three-point laser returned. Ariel's fourth got his team closer, but it was Jordan Swing hitting from the same spot twice -- with 89 and 34 seconds left -- that really closed the gap. Ariel was back with the game-tying triple from the corner with 4 seconds left in the fourth quarter, forcing overtime and giving the momentum for the victory to Rishon.
Rishon's 14 three-pointers shattered its previous best of 9 for the season. Aril buried 5 of them while young Dovrat popped 3 others, Swing and Alex Hamilton 2 each. Ulm also hit 14 triples, 2 shy of its club record, after starting the game 1 for 8 from deep.
Wednesday, December 18, 2019