A supreme shooting display by Devin Smith ensured Maccabi Tel Aviv survived a scare to improve to 8-1 in the BSL on Monday night, beating Barak Netanya 89-82.
Netanya gave Maccabi a real run for its money, but Smith’s 29 points on 11-of-14 from the field, including six three-pointers, clinched the yellow-and-blue’s sixth straight local victory.
“Tonight it was just a good night,” explained a humble Smith, who also took 10 rebounds in 32 minutes on court. “I had it going early and my teammates did a good job of finding me.”
Yogev Ohayon added 19 points for Maccabi, with Ricky Hickman scoring 17 and Sylven Landesberg notching 14 points.
“It is always tough to play in Netanya,” said Maccabi coach David Blatt. “Devin knew that he had to give a little extra tonight and he did it.
Marco Killingsworth had 21 points and 12 boards for Netanya, with Raymar Morgan scoring 20 points.
“We are disappointed,” said Netanya coach Danny Franco after seeing his team drop to its fourth consecutive loss following a 5-0 start to the season.
“We had 24 turnovers tonight and they scored easy points on the fast break. We shot ourselves in the foot.”
A Smith three gave Maccabi an early 12-point cushion (18- 6) and the visitors took a 23-14 gap into the second period.
However, Netanya scored the first seven points of the second period and a Morgan triple gave the hosts their first lead of the night (29-28).
Nevertheless, Smith’s jumper to beat the first half buzzer took his personal tally to 21 points and extended Maccabi’s lead to eight points (49-41).
Netanya trailed by seven points ahead of the fourth frame (66- 59), but a three-point play by Morgan brought Franco’s men within a single point with 5:50 remaining (71-70).
However, Smith made sure they would not complete the comeback, hitting another basket from beyond the arc with 1:45 remaining to shift the momentum well and truly in Maccabi’s favor.
Also Monday, Bnei Herzliya got back to winning ways, snapping a four-game losing streak with an 84-81 win over Hapoel Gilboa/Galil.
The teams traded the lead numerous times in a tight first half, with Herzliya taking a three-point edge (43-40) into the break, The hosts still held a slender margin (61-59) with 10 minutes to play and survived a tense finish to maintain it until the final buzzer.
Romel Beck led five Herzliya players in double digits with 19 points, while Dagan Yavzuri had 18 for Gilboa, which lost for the first time in three games.
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