Maccabi Tel Aviv legend Guy Goodes has a history of giving his former team tough fights in his two seasons as Maccabi Rishon Lezion coach, and Sunday night he finally broke through.
Hosting the previously unbeaten and defending BSL champions, Rishon prevailed 85-78 thanks to a brilliant performance by swingman Omar Sneed.
"This is one of the biggest wins of my European career. It's a great achievement," a thrilled Sneed said after the game. "I respect those guys to the fullest."
Bnei Hasharon, Ironi Nahariya and Maccabi Givat Shmuel registered easy wins in their respective games.
Maccabi Tel Aviv had hoped to continue the momentum from an impressive Euroleague win over Barcelona last Thursday, but faced stiff opposition from Guy Goodes's squad.
The hosts led for the entire first half, with Sneed leading the scoring and embarrassing the Maccabi defense time after time. The physical slasher finished the game with 24 points and also collected nine boards.
After going down 36-44 at halftime, Maccabi seemed to get its act together. Will Solomon buried two crucial three-pointers to cut Rishon's lead down to two (63-65) at the end of the third quarter.
Or Eitan helped the hosts reestablish a comfortable lead with two quick baskets, while Maccabi Tel Aviv failed to dominate the boards and missed simple layups.
Anthony Parker hit an offbalance jumper from the right corner to make the score 78-83 with 41 seconds on the clock, but Solomon fouled out and the yellow-and-blue failed to avoid their first defeat of the domestic season.
"We believed in ourselves and trained hard all week," Goodes told reporters. "The key was cutting down the turnovers and playing percentage basketball.
"But we have to keep working hard and continue the positive momentum."
Maccabi Givat Shmuel 91, Galil-Golan 86
Yogev Ohayon was errorprone and failed to successfully run the point, as Galil-Golan faltered against the league's last-place team.
Moshe Brener connected six times from three-point range on way to his 23 points. Timmy Bowers had 22 points and Jason Straight scored 15 for the hosts.
Lior Eliyahu kept the visitors in the game with 23 points, six rebounds and six assists. Ohayon finished his disappointing game with only 12 points and two assists.
Ironi Nahariya 80, Ramat Hasharon 71
Ironi Nahariya, which came into the game as the clear favorite, did not disappoint and exploded on Mickey Berkowitz's Ramat Hasharon.
The visitors trailed by as many as 30 points in the third quarter, but managed to cut the deficit in last-period garbage time.
Otis Hill was on fire for Nahariya as he scored a gamehigh 23 points and also grabbed 11 rebounds. Cory Carr and Alvin Young added 13 points each for the hosts.
Bnei Hasharon 93, Elitzur Ashkelon 87
Ya'acov Geno was ejected from the game in the third quarter after arguing with the game officials, but it didn't stop the visitors from handing Ashkelon its sixthstraight defeat.
Adam Harrington led Bnei Hasharon with 26 points, including six threes in eight attempts. Ugonna Onyekwe is turning into one of the dominant big guys of the BSL league, as he finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds.