Scottie Wilbekin scored 23 points to lead Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv to an 84-75 victory over CSKA Moscow at Menora Mivtachim Arena on Thursday night.
Maccabi blasts CSKA 84-75
The Israeli champs dominated the first half to lead by 21 and never looked back in lifting their record to 11-12 on the season. Ante Zizic scored 14 on 7-for-9 shooting, Keenan Evans added 11 points and 4 assists and John DiBartolomeo contributed 10 points off the bench for the winners. Iffe Lundberg, who led a late CSKA rally with 13 fourth-quarter points, paced the CSKA attack with 17 points. Nikola Milutinov added 12 points and Marius Grigonis scored 10 for CSKA, which fell to 14-10.
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Evans opened the scoring for the hosts with free throws before Grigonis and Ivan Ukhov got CSKA going with back-to-back three-pointers. Milutinov added a jumper before Daniel Hackett’s three caped a 0-11 run and prompted a Maccabi timeout. Khyri Thomas ended the Maccabi drought with free throws and Zizic finally scored Maccabi’s first basket with a hook shot to make it 6-11. Thomas and Milutinov each dunked before DiBartolomeo, fresh off the bench, tied it with a three, 13-13. Wilbekin took charge with a pair of triples to put Maccabi in front 19-15. The Maccabi guard added a floater to make it 23-17 after 10 minutes.
The pace slowed somewhat early in the second quarter, but a three from Jake Cohen extended the margin to 28-19. After free throws from Alexey Shved, DiBartolomeo struck again from downtown to give the hosts a double-digit lead, 33-21. After a timeout, Grigonis came to the rescue for CSKA with a three only to see Thomas match him. Evans added free throws and a slam in a 10-0 run that made it 43-24. Lundberg’s reverse layup ended the CSKA drought, but a triple by Wilbekin took the margin to 20. After free throws by Shved, a deep three from Wilbekin made it 49-28 at the break.
Semen Antonov scored via a goaltending call on Derrick Williams to start the second half. Grigonis scored in the lane and Joel Bolomboy on the offensive glass, but Wilbekin responded with a three and free throws to keep the hosts in charge. CSKA continued to push and Hackett connected from behind the arc before dishing to Ukhov for a three that made it 56-42. Angelo Caloiaro and Jalen Reynolds combined to score the next 5 points to keep Maccabi cruising. Nikita Kurbanov drilled a three for CSKA before Reynolds’s tip-in ended the third quarter with Maccabi up 67-46.
Lundberg sank a pair of threes and in between them a floater for a personal 0-8 start to the fourth quarter, which promoted a Maccabi timeout. A Milutinov slam made it 67-56 before Cohen made a three from the corner and Evans took a steal in for a layup. Zizic scored inside, but Lundberg continued to shine with a layup-plus-foul. CSKA’s defense caused troubles and Antonov’s triple made it 76-66. Maccabi called a timeout after which Zizic scored on consecutive possessions. Hackett sank another three and Milutinov dunked, but the clock was another opponent for CSKA. Free throws by Wilbekin with 33 seconds left all but put the game on ice.