Maccabi Tel Aviv emphatically avenged its only BSL defeat of the season to date on Monday, thrashing Maccabi Rishon Lezion 72-49 on the road.

Rishon handed the yellow-and- blue its first defeat to an Israeli team in 10 months at the end of October, claiming a stunning 81-64 win at Nokia Arena.

However, the gulf in the quality between the sides was clear for all to see on Monday, with Tel Aviv outscoring Rishon 38-20 in the second half to clinch a comfortable victory.

The visitors led by just five points (34-29) at halftime, but Rishon would score just six points in the first 13 minutes of the second half, with Tel Aviv going on a gamewinning 24-6 run (58-35) to improve to 13-1 on the season with its 11th straight league triumph.

Lior Eliyahu led the winners with 18 points, while Shawn James added 12 points, 13 boards and five blocks for the yellow-and-blue, which lifted its spirits slightly following its 21-point Euroleague humbling at Khimki Moscow last Friday and ahead of Thursday’s crucial Top 16 showdown with European champion Olympiacos.

Julian Wright was the only Rishon player to reach double- figures, scoring 20 points for the hosts, who dropped to 6-8 on the season.

Just a single game now separates Rishon in sixth place and Maccabi Ashdod in 12th and last position, after Ashdod (5-9) beat Bnei Herzliya (6-8) 86-76 on the road on Monday.

Herzliya, which had only lost to Maccabi Tel Aviv in its previous five games, held a five-point edge (24-19) after the first period, but there was nothing to separate the teams at the break, with the score tied at 46-46.

The game would be decided in the third frame, with Ashdod outscoring the hosts 23-9 and holding on in the fourth quarter for its third win in four encounters.

Mardy Collins led Ashdod with 23 points, while Diamon Simpson contributed 19 points and 12 rebounds.

Romel Beck had 21 points for Herzliya.

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