Wilbekin, Maccabi rally past Buducnost
Led by Scottie Wilbekin, who had the best performance of his Turkish Airlines EuroLeague career, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv used a huge fourth quarter to register its first win of the new season by downing Buducnost VOLI Podgorica 68-78 on the road on Thursday night in the Montenegrin capital. Maccabi improved to 1-2 for the season, while Buducnost remained winless after three games. Maccabi opened the fourth quarter with a 2-20 spurt, and pulled away after trailing for the majority of the first three quarters. Wilbekin finished the game with a career-best 28 points on 6-of-11 three-point shooting along with 5 assists and 4 rebounds. Michael Roll added 12 points Tarik Black scored 10 and do-it-all swingman DeAndre Kane contributed 7 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists for the winners. Edwin Jackson paced Buducnost with 13 points.
Buducnost delivered the first blow through Nemanja Gordic, who scored 8 points – including two triples – to make it 12-7. The visitors answered with Wilbekin in the main role, putting together a 2-7 run late in the first, then scoring the first 5 points of the second quarter to make it 16-21. But Jackson hit back-to-back threes before Suad Sehovic made a memorable debut with 9 quick points, including two triples, that helped the hosts pull away and open a 41-34 halftime lead. The margin reached 9 points at the start of the third, but two more three-pointers from Wilbekin got Maccabi within 47-46. Alen Omic fought for a three-point play and Coty Clarke nailed a triple that capped a 7-0 run, but Wilbekin answered with consecutive triples, including a four-point play, to make it 54-53. The hosts entered the fourth quarter up 62-58, but Maccabi stepped up defensively. Michael Roll tied it at 62-62, before back-to-back triples from Angelo Caloiaro and Wilbekin capped a 0-12 run to open a 62-70 advantage. Omic finished a fast break with an alley-oop dunk, but that only briefly stopped the bleeding as Maccabi went on to score next 8 points, extending its lead to 64-78, sealing the deal.
Maccabi allowed only 2 points in the first 9 minutes of the fourth quarter, while Wilbekin, Caloiaro, Roll and Tarik Black scored 20 on the other end. Over those 9 minutes and that 2-20 run, Maccabi held the hosts to 1-of-13 shooting, it forced 2 turnovers, and did not allow a single offensive rebound until the 12th missed shots. By that time, it was only 58 seconds left in the game, and Maccabi was up 64-78.
Movers and shakers
Apart from Wilbekin, the only two other Maccabi players in double figures were Michael Roll ,who netted 12 points, and Tarik Black, who had his way in the paint with 10 points and 6 rebounds. DeAndre Kane had an all-round great performance with 7 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Edwin Jackson scored 13 points, while Alen Omic and Nemanje Gordic had 12 apiece for Buducnost, which was missing Nikola Ivanovic.
It was a long awaited debut for Buducnost team captain Suad Sehovic, who wasted no time in making an impact in the second quarter when he entered a EuroLeague game for the first time. He made his first three-point attempt from the left corner, then drew a foul while shooting another triple. He made all 3 free throws and made a couple of key defensive plays, before nailing another triple to get his tally to 9 points, without a miss before halftime. Even though he was scoreless in the second half, it was a debut to remember for the 31-year old swingman.
Did you know?
This was the first meeting between the sides in the EuroLeague since February 2003, when Maccabi won 80-89 in this same Moraca Arena. Maccabi is now 5-0 all-time against Buducnost in EuroLeague action.
After this double-round week, the teams have a whole week to prepare for the next game. Both teams will play on the road on Thursday. Buducnost will travel to visit reigning champion Real Madrid, while Maccabi plays on the road against its former coach David Blatt and Olympiacos Piraeus.
Thursday, October 18, 2018