Mac TA struggles, still ekes past Ashdod

Strong 4th quarter helps overcome rough start as yellow-and-blue remains unbeaten in BSL.

November 7, 2016 23:15
2 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv forward D.J. Seeley (center) had a team-high 13 points in last night’s 72-66 BSL wi

Maccabi Tel Aviv forward D.J. Seeley (center) had a team-high 13 points in last night’s 72-66 BSL win for the yellow-and-blue at Maccabi Ashdod.. (photo credit: DANNY MARON)

Maccabi Tel Aviv maintained its perfect record in the BSL on Monday night, but had to dig deep to beat Maccabi Ashdod 72-66 to improve to 5-0.

Tel Aviv only took the lead for the first time with 7:30 minutes to play in the contest, but it ultimately did enough to return to winning ways after losing to Barcelona in Euroleague action last Wednesday.

Maccabi started a six-game stretch over 13 days on Monday, with five of the games being on the road. It faces a far tougher challenge when it visits Panathinaikos in Greece in Euroleague action on Thursday.

The yellow-and-blue visits Bnei Herzliya on Saturday before hosting Fenerbahce next Tuesday.

It faces Unics Kazan in Russia just 48 hours later and caps the run of games with a home showdown against Hapoel Jerusalem on November 20.

D.J. Seeley and Guy Pnini scored 13 points each for Tel Aviv on Monday night, with Jake Cohen netting 16 points for Ashdod, which fell to 2-3.

Maccabi looked lethargic from the start, allowing Ashdod to open an early double-digit gap (19-9). The hosts took a ninepoint cushion (24-15) into the second period, but scored only 11 more points until the break. That was enough to keep Ashdod in the lead at halftime, with the hosts ahead 35-31 entering the second half.

Ashdod remained in front throughout the third quarter, but led by just a single point (49- 48) with 10 minutes to play.

Maccabi finally took its first lead of the night with 7:30 minutes remaining thanks to Sonny Weems’s basket (54-53).

Ashdod’s Noam Laish answered with a three-pointer in his team’s next possession, but the hosts wouldn’t score again for more than three minutes, allowing Maccabi to open a five-point edge (61-56).

Ashdod closed back within two points (61-59) with less than four minutes to play, but never led again and Maccabi eked out a tough win.

Earlier Monday, a 16-0 run in the fourth quarter gave Hapoel Eilat an 82-66 win over Maccabi Kiryat Gat. A tight first half ended in a 33-32 Kiryat Gat lead and the teams were still only separated by a single point (59- 58) with 10 minutes to play, with the hosts having the edge.

Eliat blew the game open with a game-winning run after holding Kiryat Gat scoreless for over three minutes, racing to a 78-60 margin it wouldn’t relinquish.

Landon Milbourne led five Eilat players in double figures with 18 points. Eilat improved to 2-3 while Kiryat Gat fell to 1-4. Curtis Kelly had 15 points for the losers.

“I didn’t like the energy we displayed in the first half,” said Eilat coach Oded Katash. “I told the players there is no reason for us to play like that and in the second half we looked very different.”

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