Budapest, Hungary – Austin Peay State University men’s basketball player Eli Abaev was instrumental in helping the United States bring home the gold at the 2019 European Maccabi Games, which concluded Tuesday with the USA winning the gold-medal game against Russia.
Abaev was outstanding throughout the event, averaging 17.0 points and 15.3 rebounds while hitting nearly 50 percent from the floor through his six-game stay in the tournament.
Three of his six outings were double-double efforts, including two against Russia, who Team USA battled for the title in a hotly-contested 73-63 contest, Tuesday.
A rising redshirt junior, Abaev saved his best for the tournament’s latter stages. Against Israel in the quarterfinal round, the Deerfield Beach, Florida native tossed up 22 points and grabbed 22 rebounds, hitting 8-of-13 from the floor and handing out four assists to tie his tournament high.
But the outing Abaev enjoyed in the Russia gold-medal match may have been the best individual effort in the entire tournament. Abaev scored 23 points and hauled in a super-human 28 rebounds in a team-high 39 minutes of play, assisting on the go-ahead bucket as part of a game-ending 16-3 run for Team USA.
The European Games are a high-level athletic competition for Jewish athletes all over the world aimed at connecting Jews from the Diaspora. They are hosted by the European Maccabi Confederation and conducted in cooperation with Maccabi World Union. They are held every four years, two years after the Maccabiah is held.
Abaev will return to Austin Peay State University with an eye on being one of the primary focal points in his first on-court season after losing 2018-19 to injury.