Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Jeremy Pargo.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Despite playing without injured star forward Devin Smith, Maccabi Tel Aviv cruised to an 86-64 road-win at Hapoel Eilat on Sunday night, to move within a single victory of returning to the BSL final.
Eilat entered the encounter with high hopes after giving the yellow-and-blue a run for its money in Game 1 at Yad Eliyahu Arena.
The thigh injury suffered by Smith in the series opener, which ruled him out for at least 10 days, further boosted Eilat’s hopes. However, after getting off to a bright start, Eilat found itself down by eight points at the break and completely lost its way in the third period, with Maccabi opening an unassailable 21-point margin (70-49) with 10 minutes still to play.
Jeremy Pargo led the way once more, scoring 23 points for Tel Aviv, which can wrap up its second straight sweep when it hosts Game 3 on Wednesday. Alex Tyus added 15 points and 11 rebounds for Maccabi.
Afik Nissim and Brian Asbury had 14 points each for Eilat, which opened the game with a 10-2 run but saw its night go downhill from there.
Hapoel Jerusalem will aim to also take a 2-0 lead in the semis when it visits Maccabi Rishon Lezion on Monday.
Jerusalem has beaten Rishon in all five of their meetings this season, but struggled to put the No. 6 seed away in Game 1. Rishon, which surprised Hapoel Holon (3) in the quarterfinals, trailed for much of the series opener, but remained within striking distance until the fourth quarter.
Rishon announced on Sunday that it extended the contract of coach Sharon Drucker for another season after he led it to the last four in the BSL for the first time since 2012.
“I’m very happy to continue at Rishon,” said Drucker.
“We had a really good season, but sometimes it is tougher to remain at the top than it is to reach it and that will be our main goal next season.”