Maccabi FOX holds on to win thriller at Nizhny
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv continued its strong start to the Last 32 with a tough 83-87 road win at Nizhny Novgorod on Wednesday. Taylor Rochestie led the way with 17 points against his former team and Trevor Mbakwe added a double-double as the visitors held on late to improve to 2-0 in Group M. The result also dropped Nizhny to 0-2. The game was close throughout with Maccabi leading by as many as 7 in the first half and Nizhny by 5 in the fourth quarter. The final 20 seconds decided the game; after Devin Smith put Maccabi up 3, the two teams combined to miss 3 free throws and commit 2 turnovers before Sylven Landesberg iced the game from the free throw line. Arinze Onuaku scored 15 for the winners, Guy Pnini added 13, Smith 10 and Mbakwe posted 10 points, 14 rebounds and 2 blocks. Dimitriy Khvostov paced Nizhny with 14 points and 10 assists, Evgeny Baburin and Semen Antonov each scored 13, Victor Rudd added 12 points and Kaspars Berzins 11.
Sylven Landesberg opened the scoring with a three-pointer, but Nizhny soon tied it at 4-4 after Rudd free throws. Rudd gave the hosts their first lead and Khvostov and Antonov extended it to 13-8. Rochestie sparked Maccabi with a three-pointer as the visitors reeled off 7 straight points to move in front. Antonov connected from downtown and Ivan Strebkov made it 18-15, but Dagan Yivzori scored the last 5 points of the quarter to end it at 18-20. Yivzori scored the first basket of the second quarter and Onuaku scored twice inside as the visitors surged ahead 21-28. After a Baburin triple, Maccabi added to its lead through Mbakwe. Antonov kept the hosts in the game and Khvostov free throws narrowed the gap to 34-36. Pnini nailed a triple and Rochestie free throws boosted the difference back to 7. In the final minute of the half, Berzins scored inside and Strebkov hit from behind the arc to make it 43-45 at the break.
Rochestie and Onuaku scored the first baskets of the second half, but Nizhny rode Khvostov’s hot hand to a 50-49 advantage. The lead changed hands on nearly every possession for the next several minutes, with Brian Randle splitting free throws to put the visitors up 54-56. Pnini pushed the lead to 5 with a three-pointer, but Baburin buried a pair from behind the arc to tie it at 63-63 through three quarters. Mbakwe and Randle put Maccabi back on top, but it would be a short-lived advantage as Andrey Kirdiachkin scored three times and Baburin made his fourth triple to push the hosts in front. It was 76-71 after Berzins next three. However Maccabi made up the difference through Rochestie free throws and triples by Smith and Landesberg to lead 78-79. Strebkov’s three kept the hosts within 1 entering the final minute, however Mbakwe’s rejection of Rudd and Smith floater gave Maccabi an 81-84 edge with 20 seconds to play. The finish was a test of nerves and free throw shooting; Khvostov, Smith and Strebkov all split free throws and Rochestie and Rudd each turned the ball over before Landesberg iced the game from the line.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016