Maccabi Haifa forward Will Graves.
(photo credit: ERAN LUF)
Maccabi Haifa remained within striking distance of the top two in the BSL standings after claiming a dramatic 104-103 double-overtime win at Ironi Ness Ziona on Monday night.
Haifa improved to a 13-7 record, one game back of Maccabi Tel Aviv and two behind Hapoel Jerusalem, thanks to its fifth victory from the past six contests.
The Greens, who convincingly beat Jerusalem and Maccabi in two of their previous three BSL games, were seemingly heading to an unexpected defeat after Ness Ziona opened a five-point gap with 10 seconds remaining.
However, Oz Blayzer hit a three-pointer with 4.7 seconds to play and Haifa would steal the ball from Ness Ziona’s subsequent inbounds pass, allowing Gregory Vargas to tie the score with 2.3 seconds left on the clock. Ness Ziona couldn’t redeem itself in overtime and Haifa held its nerve to clinch a sweet win.
Vargas led Haifa with 28 points and 12 assists, while Sundiata Gaines scored 20 points for Ness Ziona (7-13).
Also Monday, Bnei Herzliya beat Maccabi Kiryat Gat 88-84 behind 20 points from James Singleton. Paul Delaney had 22 points for the losers.
In other basketball news, the Euroleague announced on Monday that it has filed a complaint before the European Commission against FIBA and FIBA Europe for what it claims are “the repeated pressures that European basketball clubs are suffering at the hands of the international federation and its affiliated national federations with the objective of forcing them to renounce their participation in European competitions... managed through Euroleague Basketball.”
The landscape of European club basketball is set to change next season with FIBA launching its new Basketball Champions League. The competition will begin with a group stage of four pools with eight teams each, with the top four to advance to the next round.
According to the Euroleague, “the complaint targets the unacceptable and illegal threats and pressures that FIBA and its member federations are making against clubs, players and referees to force them to abandon the Euroleague and the Eurocup and only participate in FIBA competitions.”
The Euroleague said that the complaint’s objective is to “guarantee that clubs, players and referees can freely make the choice to participate in the competitions that they consider appropriate without being subject to threats or pressures.”