Jackson inspires Mac TA to opening Euro win
Yellow-and-blue outscores Bamberg 33-12 in fourth quarter to get campaign off on right foot
A sensational Pierre Jackson display saw Maccabi Tel Aviv open its Euroleague campaign with a confidence-boosting 88-71 victory over Brose Bamberg in Germany on Thursday night.
The 26-year-old American guard inspired a game-clinching 18-0 run in the fourth quarter, ending the night with 27 points (5-of-5 from three-point range), nine assists and seven rebounds. Maccabi entered the final 10 minutes trailing by four points (59-55), but Jackson would score 14 points and register four assists in the fourth frame alone to give the yellow-and-blue an important win to start the season.
“I spent a lot of time to convince Jackson to give up on the NBA and come to Maccabi, but if he plays like this the door is going to be open for him,” said Maccabi coach Neven Spahija. “I think we did a great job in the last quarter. To win against this team is a big step forward.”
Michael Roll added 16 points, with Alex Tyus scoring 12 points for Maccabi, which hosts Baskonia of Spain next Thursday. Nikos Zisis netted 16 points for Bamberg.
Bamberg held a slender advantage throughout the first period, taking a 20-14 margin into the second quarter. The game remained tight and Maccabi finally took its first lead with 1:34 minutes to play in the half courtesy of two straight Jackson baskets (35-34).
Maccabi was still ahead by a point (37-36) at the interval, but could only manage two points in the final two-and-a-half minutes of the third period, allowing the hosts to build a four-point margin (59-55) ahead of the final 10 minutes.
The score was still tied (67-67) with six-and-a-half minutes to play, but Maccabi would blitz the Germans and secure the win thanks to Jackson.
Meanwhile, Hapoel Jerusalem’s Eurocup campaign began with an 86-72 defeat at Lietkabelis Panevezys of Lithuania on Wednesday night. Panevezys scored the first seven points of the night, but a tight first half would ensue, with Hapoel holding a two-point edge (42-40) at the break.
There was little to separate the teams for much of the third quarter as well, before the hosts burst the game open at the end of the frame. The Lithuanians scored 11 of the final 14 points of the period to open an 11-point gap (69-58) and built on the momentum at the start of the final quarter, completing a 22-5 run to take an unassailable 80-59 lead with seven minutes to play.
Curtis Jerrells led Jerusalem with 23 points. Austin Daye added 16, while Richard
Howell had 15 for the guests. Ksistof Lavrinovic paced the winners with 20 points.
With the best four teams from each group after a 10-game, round-robin regular season, to advance to the Top 16, Jerusalem still has plenty of time to make amends.
“It wasn’t an ideal start for us in this competition,” said new Jerusalem coach Fotis Katsikaris, whose team hosts Buducnost in its second game next Tuesday. “Lietkabelis is in better game shape because they have played more games than us. They took advantage of our mistakes. At halftime we asked for players to play harder, more physical but we weren’t smart enough. The players’ reaction wasn’t correct. We were down, we didn’t execute well.”
MACCABI TEL AVIV center Alex Tyus had 12 points on a perfect 5-of-5 from the field in last night’s 88-71 win over Brose Bamberg in Euroleague action in Germany.