The fear of an empty arena due to inclement weather brought the Israel Basketball Association to postpone the State Cup final between Hapoel Jerusalem and Maccabi Tel Aviv by three days..
(photo credit: ODED KARNI/BSL)
Three days after its humbling loss in Game 1, Maccabi Haifa beat Hapoel Eilat 76-68 at Romema Arena on Wednesday night to tie the best-of-five BSL quarterfinal series at 1-1.
Eilat dominated Maccabi Haifa in the series opener, claiming a 95-74 victory. However, the Greens were the ones who led almost from start to finish on Wednesday, although only by slender margins for much of the night.
A 10-1 run to end the first quarter gave Haifa a nine-point lead (26-17), but the hosts saw their gap cut to just a single point (44-43) by the interval.
Eilat moved in front at the start of the fourth period, but Haifa replied with a 13-3 surge (69-63) and never looked back.
Ike Ofoegbu had 23 points and 12 rebounds for Haifa, with Moran Roth adding 20 points.
Adrian Uter finished with 16 points for Eilat, which hosts Game 3 on Monday.
Game 2 in the three remaining quarterfinals will take place on Thursday. No. 1 seed Maccabi Tel Aviv avoided a surprise setback against No. 8 Ironi Ness Ziona in Game 1 on Monday, with a Yogev Ohayon three-pointer with 7.1 seconds remaining securing an 89-88 win.
Ness Ziona coach Nadav Zilberstein felt his team was robbed in the series opener at Yad Eliyahu Arena, but believes his roster gained valuable confidence and is hoping it will show on Thursday.
The series between Hapoel Jerusalem (2) and Hapoel Tel Aviv (7) got off to a tight start as expected, but Jerusalem ultimately had the upper hand in Game 1 and can clinch its progress to the semis at home on Monday should it prevail at the Drive-In Arena on Thursday.
Tel Aviv’s main goal in Game 2 will be to limit its turnovers after giving the ball away 20 times in the series opener.
Maccabi Rishon Lezion (6) was the only team to win on the road in Game 1, beating Hapoel Holon (3) 80-76. Both sides are set to be without significant players on Thursday, with Rishon’s Isaiah Swann to miss the game through suspension after headbutting Holon’s Shlomi Harush in Game 1.
Harush is likely out on Thursday and may have to miss the rest of the season after injuring his hand in a different incident.