Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Arinze Onuaku (left) and guard Yogev Ohayon.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv registered its second straight BSL win on Monday night, beating Maccabi Rishon Lezion 78-75 on the road in its final game before the start of the Zan Tabak era.
Tabak was appointed as Maccabi’s new head coach earlier Monday and will be unveiled as Guy Goodes’s replacement on Tuesday.
Goodes’s assistant Avi Even was at the helm for the final time on Monday and his short tenure ended with a win after Rishon missed two opportunities to force overtime in the final seconds.
Even was guiding the team for the third time in five days, helping it to its second consecutive win following the victory over Ironi Ness Ziona on Saturday night. Ike Ofoegbu led five Maccabi players in double figures with 14 points and nine rebounds. Devin Smith added 13 points and 10 boards for Maccabi, which improved to 5-2.
Mark Lyons had 17 points for Rishon, which entered the game in a confident mood after its impressive start to the campaign but fell to 4-2.
Tel Aviv got off to a quick start, opening a double-digit margin with Trevor Mbakwe’s free throws (20-10). The visitors took an 11-point gap (26-15) into the second quarter and led by as many as 15 points (35-20) midway through the frame. Rishon closed within eight points (42- 34) by the break, and trailed by six points (60-54) entering the final 10 minutes.
Darryl Monroe’s basket cut the deficit to two points (66-64) with 3:45 minutes remaining, but Maccabi would score the next eight points to reestablish a double- digit lead, with Yogev Ohayon scoring the final five. Rishon never gave up the chase, with Nitzan Hanochi’s three-pointer with 19 seconds left bringing the hosts within two points (75-73) once more. However, the hosts missed two chances to force overtime and Tel Aviv survived.
BSL action continues with four games on Tuesday. Oded Katash will look to claim his second straight win since joining Hapoel Eilat (2-4) when Bnei Herzliya (3-3), which has won three consecutive games, comes to town.
One day after being hired by Eilat and nine days after being fired by Hapoel Tel Aviv, Katash, who enjoyed a successful tenure in Eilat between 2012 and 2014, guided the side to an easy 29-point win over Maccabi Kiryat Gat last week. Arik Shivek left Eilat after the team opened the campaign with a 1-4 record and the club’s ownership refused to make changes to the roster. Shivek guided Eilat to the BSL final last season, upsetting Maccabi Tel Aviv in the semifinals after trailing 0-2 in the best-of-five series. However, he quickly lost patience with the team’s current roster, opening the door for Katash’s return to the club after he was sacked by Hapoel Tel Aviv following its 1-3 start to the campaign.
Hapoel Tel Aviv won its first game under Sharon Avrahami following Katash’s firing, but suffered a loss at Maccabi Ashdod on Saturday.
Tel Aviv (2-4) hosts Kiryat Gat (2-4) on Tuesday. Also Tuesday, Maccabi Haifa (3-2) welcomes Hapoel Holon (2-3) while Ashdod (3-3), which has won three straight contests, visits Ironi Ness Ziona (2-4).