David Blatt 311.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv recorded its seventh straight win by at least 20 points on
Monday night, this time thrashing Bnei Hasharon 90-68 in Herzliya to advance to
the State Cup quarterfinals.
Maccabi has already forgotten what a tight
game looks like after crushing all before it in all competitions over the past
month and it is hard to see it struggling in its next game on Thursday, a visit
to Hapoel Afula of the National League in the cup quarterfinals .
being thrashed by Maccabi by 40 points two weeks ago, Bnei Hasahron – guided on
Monday by coach Ariel Beit-Halachmi for the first time – led by as many as eight
points in the second period and was still in touch with the yellow-and-blue at
the break (45-41).
However, Tel Aviv didn’t need long to extend its gap
in the second half, quickly opening a double-digit margin (55-45) before once
more rendering the final quarter all but meaningless.
Lior Eliyahu led
Maccabi with 21 points, with Devin Smith adding 16 points and Shawn James
contributing 11 points and 11 rebounds.
“It wasn’t easy because Bnei
Hasharon played well,” said Maccabi’s ever-vigilant coach David
“Ariel has managed to help the team to a slightly better situation
than it was previously.”
Kenny Lawson had 26 points and 11 boards for
Bnei Hasharon, but only scored five points after the break.
“We saw the
difference between ourselves and a well-coached team tonight,” Beit-Halachmi
“Maccabi played for 40 minutes and we played for 20-25. We will
have to work hard to play better, but I believe we can improve.”
Afula was handed a prestigious, yet virtually impossible, showdown with Maccabi
in the draw for the quarterfinals on Monday, Hapoel Tel Aviv, the only other
National League team left in the competition, was given a tough, yet winnable
home tie against Maccabi Rishon Lezion.
Hapoel Tel Aviv recorded the
surprise of the last 16 when it knocked out BSL runner-up Hapoel Gilboa/Galil on
Sunday, while Rishon sent Hapoel Jerusalem packing. Also in the quarterfinals,
Maccabi Ashdod hosts BC Habika’a, while Hapoel Holon welcomes Ironi Ashkelon in
the only game to be played on Wednesday.