Maiden continental conquest for Mac TA

Hadar’s yellow-and-blue overcomes slow start, battles to much-needed outcome vs Galatasaray.

October 27, 2016 04:43
2 minute read.
Tel Aviv forward Sonny Weems (left) scored a game-high 23 points in last night’s 98-92 win over Sina

Tel Aviv forward Sonny Weems (left) scored a game-high 23 points in last night’s 98-92 win over Sinan Guler and Galatasaray at Yad Eliyahu Arena.. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

Rami Hadar’s tenure as Maccabi Tel Aviv head coach got off to a winning start on Wednesday night, with the yellow-andblue beating Galatasaray 98-92 at Yad Eliyahu Arena for its first Euroleague win of the season three days after the sacking of Erez Edelstein.

Maccabi was far from impressive, but after the happenings of recent days, and in the midst of a hectic run of games, knew it had to beat Galatasaray one way or another.

Tel Aviv’s defensive frailties were exposed yet again, but this time it managed to edge its opponent, which fell to 0-3.

Maccabi already flies up to Lithuania on Thursday ahead of Friday’s Euroleague contest against Zalgiris Kaunas. The yellow- and-blue faces Hapoel Tel Aviv in the derby next Monday, two days before it hosts a showdown with Barcelona.

Sonny Weems, who was one of the main players who clashed with Edelstein, led Maccabi on Wednesday with 23 points and five rebounds.

Devin Smith and Colton Iverson added 17 points each, while Justin Dentmon had 22 points for Galatasaray.

“This win was very important after everything that went down this week,” said Weems. “We have been working hard and I think we deserved this win.”

One of Hadar’s first objectives was to simplify the team’s offensive play and the initial results weren’t encouraging. Maccabi scored just 18 points in the first quarter and trailed Galatasaray by six points.

Despite hitting just 16-of-50 attempts from three-point range in their first two Euroleague games, Galatasaray continued to shoot relentlessly from beyond the arc on Wednesday. Maccabi afforded it too many open looks and the visitors were ahead by three points (47-44) at the break.

Tel Aviv held the visitors scoreless in the first two minutes of the second half and scored six straight points to move ahead.

Maccabi remained in front for the remainder of the period, but couldn’t build a comfortable cushion, taking a fourpoint edge (69-65) into the fourth frame.

A Weems three midway through the final quarter finally gave Maccabi some breathing room (83-76), and although the Turks never capitulated, Tel Aviv remained in the lead until the finish to claim a much-needed victory.

Elsewhere, Ironi Nahariya dropped to 0-2 in Group A of the FIBA Champions League, losing 78-66 at Czech side CEZ Nymburk which is guided by Israeli coach Ronen Ginzburg.

Howard Sant-Roos led Nymburk with 22 points and 13 rebounds, with Nick Faust and Jonathan Skjoldebrand scoring 15 points each for Nahariya.

Maccabi Rishon Lezion improved to 2-0 in Group B on Tuesday, beating CSM Oradea of Romania 69-56.

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