Maccabi Tel Aviv claimed its most impressive win of the season to date on Thursday night, proving that it can compete with the very best, at least at home, with an 82-73 victory over reigning Euroleague champion Fenerbahce at Yad Eliyahu Arena.
After two road losses over five days at CSKA Moscow and Panathinaikos, Maccabi hit the ground running against Fenerbahce.
The yellow-and-blue scored 15 of the first 17 points of the night and would never trail.
Fenerbahce tied the score early in the second half (40-40), but the hosts surged ahead once more with a 14-4 run to start the fourth quarter and never looked back.
Pierre Jackson scored 20 points, with Norris Cole adding 19 for Maccabi, which improved to an 8-6 record.
Jan Vesely had 18 points for Fenerbahce, which fell to 9-5.
Maccabi got off to an ideal start, shutting down Fenerbahce’s offense and scoring the first nine points of the night to take an early lead.
Jonah Bolden anchored the yellow-and-blue’s defensive effort, holding the visitors scoreless for the first four-and-a-half minutes. A Jackson basket six minutes into the game opened a 15-2 margin, but after hitting just one of its first 14 shots from the field, Fenerbahce would inevitably find its range and would limit the damage until the end of the period (24-15).
Fenerbahce built on the momentum at the start of the second quarter and a three-pointer by Ali Muhammed capped a 12-2 run that cut the gap to a single point (26- 25). Maccabi scored the next seven point to reestablish a small cushion, but it had just a four-point edge (40- 36) entering the second half.
The Turks netted the first four points of the third frame to tie the score, but Maccabi would retake a double-digit margin, with back-to-back three-pointers from Jackson and Cole opening a 58-46 lead.
Fenerbahce was within six points (60-54) ahead of the final 10 minutes, but Maccabi would not be denied, with the gap reaching 16 points (74-58) on the way to a memorable win for the yellow-and-blue.