Hapoel Tel Aviv tops Nahariya, Ashdod downs Maccabi Haifa

An exciting night for Israeli basketball.

January 15, 2018 04:18
2 minute read.
Hapoel Tel Aviv tops Nahariya, Ashdod downs Maccabi Haifa

Hapoel Tel Aviv forward Matt Howard netted a team-high 18 points in last night’s 91-80 victory over Ironi Nahariya at the Drive-In Arena. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

Hapoel Tel Aviv moved into the BSL’s top-four with a 91-80 win over Ironi Nahariya on Sunday night, climbing back over .500 once more.

Hapoel improved to a 7-6 record, winning for the third time in four games after bouncing back from last week’s defeat to Hapoel Holon.

After a high-scoring first quarter ended with Tel Aviv ahead by a single point (29-28), the hosts built a double-digit gap by the break (53-42) and remained in control throughout the second half at the Drive-In Arena.

Matt Howard had 18 points and seven rebounds for the winners, with Raviv Limonad and Jerel McNeal scoring 15 points each. Corey Webster had 22 points for Nahariya, which fell to 5-8 following a fifth defeat in a row, allowing more than 90 points in the last four losses.

Earlier Sunday, Maccabi Ashdod continued its recent improvement, defeating Maccabi Haifa 87-74 for its third straight BSL victory after also advancing to the State Cup semifinals.

Ashdod’s poor start to the season has become a distant memory, with Brad Greenberg’s side opening the game against Haifa with a 15-2 run and never looking back. The hosts led by 15 points (27-12) after 10 minutes and the second half was no more than garbage time, with Ashdod taking a 19-point cushion (55-36) into the break.

Cameron Long had 20 points and seven rebounds for Ashdod, which improved to 6-7. Brandon Bowman scored 18 points for Haifa (4-9), which lost a fifth consecutive game over all competitions, including to Ashdod in the State Cup round-of-16.

On Monday, Hapoel Jerusalem (9-3) looks to take sole possession of second place and close to within a single game of Maccabi Tel Aviv in first place when it visits Maccabi Rishon Lezion. Jerusalem is aiming to register its sixth straight victory in local competitions, targeting a fourth consecutive BSL win, which would be its longest this season.

One of the reasons behind Hapoel’s streak has been the play of center Ronald Roberts. Jerusalem is a perfect 5-0 in local play since the 26-year-old’s arrival, with Roberts averaging 16.0 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks, hitting 74 percent of his shots from the field, in his first three BSL games.

Rishon has a 6-6 record and is hoping to move over .500 for the first time in almost two months.

Elsewhere, Hapoel Gilboa/ Galil (7-5) hosts Ironi Ness Ziona (3-9).

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