That’s not it yet. Maccabi Tel Aviv, which came with positive momentum from the victory over Prometheus Petras, succumbed 80:71 to Armenian Milan in the semifinals of the preparatory tournament named after Pavlos Yanakopoulos held in Athens.
At the opening there was only one team on the field. The yellows benefited from the good ability of Wade Baldwin and Alex Poithers, when Rafi Manko who came off the bench also contributed his part and Oded Ketch’s team already led 6:17. However, the Reds really didn’t let them run away and ran in the second quarter thanks to former Yellows DeShawn Thomas, who together with his friends managed to lead the Reds to a 32:37 lead.
In the second half, the Italians picked up a gear, while Ketch’s team seemed off and not in the right direction. Darren Hillard entered the game well and together with Poythers and Baldwin tried to lead a comeback for the Yellows, but DeShawn Thomas and Naz Mitro-Long were big on them and stopped any attempt of running by the group from the Holy Land.
First quarter – 15:24 for Maccabi Tel Aviv
Five Maccabi Tel Aviv: Wade Baldwin, Austin Hollins, Bonzie Coulson, Jarel Martin and Alex Poythers.
Brandon Davis was responsible for the first basket of the game, when he corrected with a dunk on an offensive rebound, but Alex Poythers equalized at the other end as well with an offensive rebound. The Reds were not accurate and allowed Maccabi to run, when Bonzi Coulson’s free throw made it 2:9 yellow. Hall stopped the run with a layup, but Rafi Manko came off the bench and finished off a basket move and a foul at the buzzer. He missed the free throw, and Baldwin converted the rebound for a basket and a foul as well. Manko sewed a big three on the way to 6:17, and Pipo Ritchie tied the second pair with two easy ones. Jake Cohen dunked from the line to make it 12:21, and Darron Hilliard made a 3-pointer and made Messina call a timeout. Later on, the Italians slowed down a bit, but Maccabi still went to the break between the quarters with a considerable advantage.
Second quarter – 32:37 to Milan
Josh Niebo made one shot from the line and brought the lead back to double digits, but the Italians made a three-pointer that narrowed it to 25:18. Dishon Thomas showed superiority in the paint with a basket and a foul that narrowed the difference to only four, and the Italians continued to run on the way to their first lead since the opening when their three-pointer made it 26:29 and caused Oded Ketch to take a timeout. John DiBartolomeu hit twice from the line and stopped the red momentum when he narrowed the gap a little, but Poithers also hit in the paint and made it 34:30. Jake Cohen scored twice from the line and shrunk to only two, but the Italians managed to get back through the line as well on the way to 37:32 red.
Third quarter – 42:56 to Milan
Poithers opened the second half with a huge dunk, but Davis also dunked under the basket to preserve the lead. Thomas continued to control the paint with a high hand and completed a huge move of a basket and a foul on the way to 34:42, when later he added two more easily. The yellows tried to stop the ex, but he made a three-pointer that established an 11-point Italian lead, when five minutes into the quarter Ketch’s apprentices scored only four points. Darren Hilliard hit twice from the line en route to 47:38, with Baldwin doing the same and narrowing the gap to just seven. The number 5 in yellow continued to be the outstanding man of Ketch and Zymek to five, but Richie dunked twice from outside the arc and the difference again grew to double digits. In the last attack Ritchie was accurate again from outside the arc and increased the difference to 14 points.
Fourth quarter – 71:80 for Milan
After a basket by the Reds, Hillard showed a fighting spirit and managed to reduce the difference to ten points at the heart, but then Mitro-Long completed a basket and a foul and the Italian advantage again grew to 13. Baldwin tried to lead a comeback with an accurate shot from half distance, but Davis was unstoppable in the paint and went up for a huge dunk that made it 50:65. Later Mitro-Long made another three-pointer on the way to a 17 Red lead, but Hollins and Divertolomeu reduced it to only 12. Hillard dunked twice from the line and narrowed it to 78:68, but the Reds managed to score one more time. In the last attack, Maccabi managed to score a three-pointer at the buzzer that narrowed the difference to nine at the end.