Hapoel Jerusalem forward Lior Eliyahu.
(photo credit: LIRON MOLDOVAN/BSL)
Another solid defensive showing by Hapoel Jerusalem resulted in a fourth BSL win from five games on Sunday night. Jerusalem improved to a 13-6 record with a 79-70 victory over Maccabi Rishon Lezion at home.
Since losing five straight games, Jerusalem has only fallen to Maccabi Tel Aviv over the past month, holding its opponents to 66.8 points in four wins.
Lior Eliyahu led Jerusalem with 19 points and eight rebounds on Sunday, with Donta Smith adding 15 points and nine boards. Shawn Dowson had 20 points for Rishon, which fell to 10-9 after dropping to its fifth defeat in six games. Jerusalem seized control by scoring 13 of the first 15 points of the night, but an 11-0 Rishon run brought it back within a single point (16-15). The hosts still took a six-point gap (21-15) into the second quarter, only for Rishon to score the next 12 points.
Rishon’s margin reached double digits (35-24) following Jerry Smith’s three-pointer midway through the second period.
Jerusalem cut the deficit to six points (40-34) at the break, but the visitors reestablished an 11-point gap once more (49-38) after yet another Smith triple.
Hapoel would reply by scoring 16 unanswered points to take a 57-55 advantage into the final 10 minutes before all but securing the win with an 11-3 run to begin the fourth frame.
On Monday, Maccabi Tel Aviv (16-2) goes for its 13th consecutive BSL win when it hosts Maccabi Haifa (8-10) at Yad Eliyahu Arena. The showdown between the yellow-and-blue and the greens will be a dress rehearsal for next week’s State Cup semifinal in Jerusalem.
Tel Aviv will be aiming to reestablish a four-game lead at the top of the standings, while Haifa looks to return to winning ways after last week’s tight loss to Hapoel Holon.
Holon (11-7) has been one of the league’s in-form teams over recent weeks, winning five of its past six games.
Holon faces another improving side in Hapoel Eilat (9-9) on Monday, with the team from Israel’s southernmost city currently on a three-game winning streak.
Also Monday, Bnei Herzliya (6-12), still without a coach following the sacking of Muli Katzurin last week, visits Hapoel Gilboa/ Galil (5-13), which has lost six straight games by an average 14.1 points, while Ironi Nahariya (6-12) welcomes Ironi Ness Ziona (10-8).
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