Hapoel Tel Aviv guard Tywain McKee (right) and Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Norris Cole (left) will clash for the second time in 48 hours tonight when their teams meet in BSL action. .
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi remained on track for a ninth consecutive State Cup triumph by beating Hapoel 96-85 in the quarterfinals of the competition at the Drive-In Arena on Sunday night.
After a tight first 20 minutes, Maccabi controlled the second half, joining Hapoel Jerusalem, Hapoel Holon and Maccabi Ashdod in the semis.
The draw for the last four will be held next Tuesday, with the semifinals to be played at Yad Eliyahu Arena on February 12 and the final to take place at the same venue three days later.
The semifinal lineup is identical to last year, with Maccabi Tel Aviv and Jerusalem advancing to the 2017 final won by the yellow-and-blue.
Hapoel got an excellent contribution from its backcourt, with Adrian Banks scoring 28 points, Tywain McKee adding 21 points and Raviv Limonad contributing 17.
But Hapoel’s main issue was on defense, in particular under the basket. Center Alex Tyus led Maccabi with 20 points and 12 rebounds, including six on the offensive end.
Michael Roll added 19 points, Pierre Jackson finished with 18 and Jake Cohen netted 16.
“They beat us in a lot of one on one situations and we need to work on that,” said Hapoel coach Danny Franco, whose team enters Tuesday’s showdown with a 5-5 record in the BSL. “To beat Maccabi we need to play better defense and be more committed in the paint and find the right balance.
We allowed too many points and that is something we can’t afford to do against Maccabi.”
Maccabi leads the BSL with a 9-1 record and will already have one eye on Friday’s Euroleague clash at Real Madrid.
“I think in the second half defensively we did less mistakes and did some adjustments.
We controlled the defensive boards which is very important when you are playing Hapoel,” explained Maccabi coach Neven Spahija.
“Congrats to my team that we came back and showed personality after losing to Malaga in the Euroleague. Of course, there are so many things to fix in our game but I think we finished the year in the right way.”
BSL action continues on Wednesday with games between Hapoel Holon (7-3) and Ironi Nahariya (5-5) and Maccabi Rishon Lezion (5-5) and Hapoel Gilboa/Galil (6-4).
Hapoel Jerusalem (7-3) welcomes Maccabi Haifa (4-6) on Thursday, while Ironi Ness Ziona (3-7) hosts Hapoel Eilat (4-6) and Bnei Herzliya (2-8) visits Maccabi Ashdod (3-7).