2019-20Regular SeasonRound 17
January 02, 2020 CET: 19:00
Local time: 20:00 ZALGIRIO ARENA

Zalgiris erases 15-point deficit to beat Maccabi

Zalgiris Kaunas rallied from a 15-point third-quarter deficit to defeat Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 73-68 in front of a sell-out crowd of 15,500 at Zalgirio Arena. Lukas Lekavicus scored a season-high 20 points to pace the Lithuanian champs, who won their second straight game to improve to 5-12 at the midway point of the regular season. Arturas Milaknis, Zach LeDay and Edgaras Ulanovas each added 10 for the winners, who used an 18-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters to storm back into the game and take the lead for good. Jake Cohen paced Maccabi with a career-high 20 points and Tyler Dorsey scored 18, but both fouled out in the closing minutes. The loss was the second in a row for the Israeli champs, whose recorded dipped to 11-6.

Maccabi got threes from three different players from its first four possessions in jumping out to a 6-11 start. Martinas Geben battled hard to keep the hosts close, but Jake Cohen heated up to extend the Maccabi lead to 11-19. Free throws by LeDay helped Zalgiris close the gap to 17-21 after 10 minutes. Zalgiris tied the game at 23-23 on a three-pointer by Ulanovas and took its first lead through a Lekavicius jumper on the hosts’ next possession. However, Maccabi called a timeout, brought Dorey back into the game and the guard nailed a pair of three-pointers as the visitors reeled off the next 11 points to regain control, 25-34. Free throws by Thomas Walkup drew Zalgiris within 29-34 at the break.

Maccabi scored the first 10 points of the second half to silence the once-boisterous Zalgiris crowd and take the first double-digit margin of the game. After a triple by Lekavicius and a jumper by Nigel Hayes, Coach Sfairopoulos called timeout to reset his Maccabi troops. Nevertheless, Zalgiris continued its charge. K.C. Rivers and Lekavicius started an 11-0 run that LeDay ended to tie the game at 53-53 at the end of the third quarter. Ulanovas scored to start the fourth quarter and give Zalgiris the lead. Lekavicius scored the next 6 points to make it 61-53. Jake Cohen scored a pair of quick buckets to get Maccabi back in the game. A series of free throws by Dorsey drew the visitors within 64-63 with more than 4 minutes to play. Dorsey fouled out with more than 2 minutes remaining and Jake Cohen followed with 40 seconds left. Lekavicius sank free throws that all but sealed the game at 70-65.

Telling stats

Zalgiris took advantage of Maccabi's season-high 19 turnovers to score 26 points. The hosts also got to the foul line 30 times and made 24 of their shots (80%), which helped make up for a subpar shooting night on two-pointers (37.8%).

Love for Lekavicius #GameON pic.twitter.com/ZU7P8HYbP1

Zalgiris reserves lead the way

Lekavicius outscored the entire Maccabi bench by himself. The Zalgiris second unit went for 45 points, compared to just 17 from Maccabi's reserves.

Maccabi's short rotation

Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos faced this game once again with a short rotation after Scottie Wilbekin and Othello Hunter were ruled out with injuries. They joined Tarik Black, Omri Casspi, Nate Wolters and John DiBartolomeo among Maccabi's sidelined players. That list includes Maccabi's top-five scorers. Reinforcements arrived in the form of Jalen Reynolds, who made his EuroLeague debut, and Aaron Jackson, who played his first EuroLeague game since the third-place game at the 2017 Final Four. However, the new faces only had a handful of practices with the team and did not make a major impact in this game.

Jankunas closes in on rebounding record

With 3 rebounds in the game, Paulius Jankunas took his career total to 1,778, which is 4 away from the EuroLeague's career record help by Real Madrid big man Felipe Reyes.

Did you notice?

When Zalgiris sharpshooter Arturas Milaknis entered the game 4 minutes into the first quarter, it marked the 165th consecutive game he played in the EuroLeague. That broke his tie with J.R. Holden for the third-longest such streak this century. The longest streak is 209 games by Nikos Zisis with Fran Vazquez second at 183.

What’s next?

Both teams begin the second half of the regular season on the road. Maccabi plays its third straight game outside of Tel Aviv when it visits ALBA Berlin on Thursday, January 9. Zalgiris will be in the Spanish capital that same night for a date with Real Madrid.

Lukas Lekavicius - Zalgiris Kaunas - EB19
Thursday, January 2, 2020
Euroleague.net
Referees: PUKL,SASA; BISSANG, JOSEPH; NIKOLIC, UROS
Attendance: 14973
By Quarter1234
Zalgiris Kaunas17122420
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv21131915
End of Quarter1234
Zalgiris Kaunas17295373
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv21345368
Zalgiris Kaunas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 WALKUP, THOMAS 24:16 5 1/5   3/4 2 5 7 3 1 6 1 1 1 4 8
1 RIVERS, KC 20:05 7 1/2 1/2 2/2   3 3 2 2 1     4 2 9
4 LEKAVICIUS, LUKAS 22:29 23 3/5 4/6 5/5       2 2 2     3 2 20
10 HAYES, NIGEL 17:02 2 1/2 0/3 0/2 1 2 3 1           2 2
12 VENSKUS, ERIKAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS 18:22   0/3     1 2 3   1         3 4
16 LUKOSIUNAS, KAROLIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 MILAKNIS, ARTURAS 26:00 10 2/2 1/6 3/3 1 4 5     1     1 6 14
23 GEBEN, MARTINAS 9:27 6 3/4   0/1 2   2 1   1     3 1 4
32 LEDAY, ZACH 29:26 10 1/9   8/8 3 2 5     1 4 3 2 6 11
34 LANDALE, JOCK 9:19   0/1       2 2     1     1 1  
92 ULANOVAS, EDGARAS 23:34 10 2/4 1/4 3/5 1 3 4 2   1     4 3 7
Team           3 2 5               5
Totals 200:00 73 14/37 7/21 24/30 14 25 39 11 6 14 5 4 19 30 84
        37.8% 33.3% 80%
Head coach: JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 BRYANT, ELIJAH 21:30 9 0/1 3/5     1 1 3   1 2   2 1 10
2 ACY, QUINCY 28:38 5 1/1 1/3   3 3 6 1 1   1   2 1 11
3 REYNOLDS, JALEN 15:35 4 1/5   2/2 2 5 7     4 1   3 1 2
4 CALOIARO, ANGELO 32:08 3 1/3 0/4 1/2 2 4 6 5 1 1   1 4 3 5
6 COHEN, SANDY DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
8 AVDIJA, DENI 12:55 2 1/1 0/2   1   1 1   2     3   -3
9 JACKSON, AARON 14:36 2 0/4   2/2 2 1 3     1   2 3 1 -4
11 DORSEY, TYLER 29:27 18 1/3 4/10 4/6 2 3 5 4 1 3   1 5 5 14
15 COHEN, JAKE 22:14 20 8/11   4/6 1 6 7 1 2 2     5 5 23
50 ZOOSMAN, YOVEL 22:57 5 1/5 1/2   1 2 3 2 1 4   1 3 2  
Team           2 1 3     1         2
Totals 200:00 68 14/34 9/26 13/18 16 26 42 17 6 19 4 5 30 19 60
        41.2% 34.6% 72.2%
Head coach: SFAIROPOULOS, IOANNIS

Head Coaches

JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS
Zalgiris Kaunas
"All through the year, we deserved so much better things and we didn't get them. I'm not sure we played good enough to win today, but you know sometimes during the long season you just take a W and you go home and you try to work on your stuff. It was not a very good game by us, but we'll take it, especially in our situation. We managed somehow how to break the game, we found a point guard and also shooter, something that was lacking a little bit in the first half and Lukas changed the game."
SFAIROPOULOS, IOANNIS
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv
"I think today we fought really hard for this game. We gave our best. As long as we controlled the rhythm game, we were up, even by double digits in points, but when we got this lead, I think that for a few minutes we lost our concentration. In this period of the game, Zalgiris played their normal game here with a lot of pressing, stealing balls or after defense to run in transition and they found rythm, they scored, they got the lead. For me, it was very important that we didn't give up when the game went to 7 points. We fought till the end. Unfortunately, we missed a couple of easy baskets under the rim that could have changed the game to our side. But I'm very unhappy from one side because we lost, but on the other hand, I'm happy that our players fought for this game. It's really a very big credit for them to fight till the end of the game. We showed big character."

Players

LEKAVICIUS, LUKAS
Zalgiris Kaunas
"I think we started the game very lazy and it was a problem in the first half, but in the second half we picked up our game, we hit some shots and that was the key of the game. It is very important in basketball to hit your open shots. We played very aggresive in our defense and I think that helped us a lot. Everybody feels better now. We're in good shape, everybody hit some shots. The atmosphere was great, so shots were falling in."
LEDAY, ZACH
Zalgiris Kaunas
"The key was just playing hard, doing the little things, doing the details. We didn't have that good of a game today, offensively. Lukas helped us a whole lot. So I'm thankful for that and we just played hard today. We really wanted the game. We fed off the energy of the crowd and that helped us. We're just taking it one game at a time, that's what we're doing. Focusing on the little things, listening to coach and trying to be better every day.”
COHEN, JAKE
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv
"It's a really tough situation. We had two guys go down before the game. Othello and Scottie. Everyone knows how important those guys are. We got Aaron [Jackson] and Jalen [Reynolds] just basically coming off the plane to play. It's a really hard situation. I think they deserve a lot of credit for the effort. Running the offense is really tough. I thought we showed a lot of fight as a team. That's some of the positive things we can take away from the game. Obviously, we have some corrections to make as well.”
DORSEY, TYLER
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv
"We had a really good first half, but we had a stretch in the third quarter where we made mental mistakes defensively and offensively we didn't find a rhythm. That continued into the fourth and small details that could have changed the game, but it was a close-fought game. We played our hearts out, but this game was in our hands and we let it slip away."
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