Local Hoops: Maccabi TA cruises into State Cup quarterfinals

Yellow-and-blue still undefeated in games that count this season after beating a hapless Elitzur Ashkelon 89-67.

By SHARON SOLOMON
October 30, 2006 06:44
2 minute read.
Local Hoops: Maccabi TA cruises into State Cup quarterfinals

Maccabi TA 298.88. (photo credit: AP)

Maccabi Tel Aviv is still undefeated in games that count this season after beating a hapless Elitzur Ashkelon 89-67 in the second leg of their State Cup round of 16 tie at Nokia Arena Sunday night. The yellow-and-blue enjoyed a 39-point advantage from the first leg, and Ashkelon had virtually no chance of staging a comeback. Oded Katash and Hapoel Galil Elyon tried to erase a 15-point deficit against Ironi Nahariya, but managed only an 83-79 win, which was not enough to advance to the quarterfinals. Bnei Hasharon and Ironi Ramat Gan also reached the next round with comfortable victories in their ties against Maccabi Hod Hasharon and Hapoel Givatayim, respectively. Maccabi Tel Aviv 89, Ironi Ashkelon 67 Maccabi coach Neven Spahija decided to rest many of his regular starters, as he selected Yotam Halperin to run the point and also gave forwards Rodney Buford and Noel Felix the nod. The changes didn't make much of a difference, as the hosts dominated, just like in the previous meeting. Buford recovered from his poor performance in last week's Euroleague opener against Unicaja Malaga and scored five quick points, leading Maccabi to an early 10-6 lead. The Israeli champions and State Cup holders played an up-tempo and attacking game, taking a 26-14 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Ashkelon's Marcus Hatten connected on some off-balance jumpers and singlehandedly cut into Maccabi's lead, but substitutes Will Bynum and Jamie Arnold stepped up the team's defense to give the hosts a 54-45 halftime lead. Ashkelon opened the second half with some physical fast breaks and more offensive play by swingman Hatten, who finished with 26 points, but the visitors were finished off with a one-sided final quarter. As the game clock wound down, Tel Aviv guard Regev Fanan committed a flagrant foul and was ejected from the game. Derek Sharp and Lior Eliyahu finished with 15 points each, while Arnold chipped in 14. Bynum, who witnessed most of the game from the bench, failed to duplicate his 29-point performance against Unicaja Malaga and managed only one point in the game. Hapoel Galil-Golan 83, Ironi Nahariya 79 After losing the first leg 74-89, Galil Elyon started the game with inspired play from former Maccabi Tel Aviv sharpshooter Omri Caspi. The hosts took a 17-8 lead midway through the first quarter and it appeared that a comeback was in the making. The hosts' lead rose to 31-15, and even after Nahariya made an impressive 8-0 run, Galil-Golan led by 14 (47-33) at halftime. The visitors, maybe sensing that their chances of advancing were slipping away, stormed back in the third period. Nahariya took a brief lead at 59-58, and even though it lost the game, it could celebrate moving on to the next round.


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