Yellow-and-blue cruise by Hasharon into quarters

Maccabi has already forgotten what a tight game looks like after crushing all before it in all competitions over the past month,

January 9, 2012 23:38
2 minute read.
David Blatt

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 .

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After 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 Blatt.

“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 said.

“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.”

While 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.

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