Maccabi break five-year Barca drought, Euroleague Top 16 round up

Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv were 70-68 winners at home to Barcelona in Group E of the Euroleague Top 16, but the reigning champions had to withstand a last minute comeback from the Liga Endesa side before icing the game from the foul line.

Jeremy Pargo collected 20 points, seven assists and the game-winning free throws with 2.4 seconds left as Maccabi won its 500th Euroleague game in its 800th contest in Europe’s top competition. Devin Smith chipped in 15 points as well for the victors, as they improve to 2-1 in the group.

“Everyone fought hard today,” Smith said afterwards. “Barcelona is a good team but we gave a team effort and everyone gave their heart for the victory. We played really good defence in the first half, but the fact that we believed in ourselves throughout the game helped us win. We have high goals as a club, but we take this season one game at the time.”

Barcelona dropped to 1-2 in the group despite 21 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks from Ante Tomic.

ALBA Berlin knocked off Barcelona in round one but were unable to do the same to Real Madrid this week as the Liga Endesa giants found their range from outside to record a 79-61 win at the O2 World.

The visitors hit 12 triples with Sergio Llull leading the way with 13 points to pace Real to the win as they top Group E with a 3-0 record.

“We did a great job on defence, containing ALBA’s penetrations and athleticism,” Madrid coach Pablo Laso said. “There we created the rhythm for our offence. In the first half we missed a lot of shots – also free throws – but in the second half we opened the game when we hit a couple of threes. Sometimes basketball is just about hitting shots. ALBA is doing a great job the whole season and they deserved to be here in the Top 16 of the Euroleague.”

Alex Renfroe had 13 points for ALBA but drop to 1-2.

CSKA Moscow’s unbeaten season in the Euroleague has now stretched to 13 games after they won 78-69 on the road to Anadolu Efes. 

The Russian champions move to 3-0 in Group F as Nando De Colo once again starred with 22 points, helped along by Aaron Jackson’s 21. Anadolu, despite spells of good play drop to 2-1.