(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Bnei Herzliya continues its surprise campaign with another impressive BSL win on Wednesday, making a statement with a 94-73 victory over the erratic Hapoel Jerusalem.
Herzliya improved to 8-4 with its sixth win from the past seven games, dominating Jerusalem, which fell to 6-6.
Herzliya, which also beat Maccabi Tel Aviv last month, took a nine-point gap into the break before establishing a double-digit margin it would comfortably maintain until the final buzzer.
Jerusalem will have an opportunity to avenge the defeat on Saturday night when the teams meet in the State Cup quarterfinals at the Jerusalem Arena.
“Jerusalem is a very strong team and we knew it would be a tough game,” said Herzliya star Karam Mashour, who finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
“This team can go far. But we are taking it one game at a time and now we want to beat Jerusalem in their arena.”
Stephen Dennis added 17 points for Herzliya, with Amar’e Stoudemire pacing Jerusalem with 20 points.
Herzliya led by just one point (21-20) after 10 minutes, but increased its gap to nine points (49-40) by the interval. The hosts held a double-digit cushion for much of the second half, taking a 68-57 advantage into the fourth frame.
Jerusalem never came close to mounting a comeback in the final 10 minutes, with Herzliya pouring salt on its wounds to the delight of the local supporters.
Herzliya remained one game back of Hapoel Holon in second place after the latter registered its fourth straight win on Wednesday, beating Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 100-93 to improve to 9-3.
Holon had a two-point edge (23-21) following a tight first quarter and seized control by scoring 15 of the final 20 points of the opening half to take a 16-point gap (53-37) into the break. Gilboa limited the damage in the second half, but Holon never lost control and secured the win in Gan Ner, its fourth consecutive road triumph.
Khalif Wyatt was superb yet again with 31 points, with James Bell adding 29 points and 10 rebounds.
Eric Griffin had 29 points and nine rebounds for Gilboa, which fell to 5-7, losing for a second straight time since defeating Maccabi Tel Aviv at Yad Eliyahu Arena.
On Thursday, Hapoel Eilat hosts Maccabi Rishon Lezion, Ironi Nahariya welcomes Maccabi Kiryat Gat and Maccabi Haifa visits Hapoel Tel Aviv.