Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Norris Cole had a game-high 19 points in last night’s 80-61 win over Bnei Herzliya at Yad Eliyahu Arena..
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv extended its perfect start to the season on Sunday night with an 80-61 win over Bnei Herzliya in BSL action, with new guard Norris Cole finally making his mark with 17 points in 20 minutes.
The 29-year-old, who won two NBA titles with the Miami Heat in his first two seasons in the league and has played a total of 360 NBA games over the previous six seasons, was limited for much of the preseason due to injuries and only had six points in the team’s BSL and Euroleague openers.
Herzliya got off to the better start on Sunday and the game was tight (48-47 Maccabi) going into the final 10 minutes.
But the yellow-and-blue, led by Cole, would outscore the visitors 32-14 in the fourth frame to secure what ended up being a comfortable triumph.
“I’ve been waiting to play well,” said Cole. “I wasn’t healthy and I’m finally starting to feel better and I wanted to have a great home opener.”
Shawn Dawson had 15 points for Herzliya, which fell to 1-1.
Meanwhile, Hapoel Holon is still searching for its first win over all competitions in 2017/18 after dropping to an 89-82 defeat to Hapoel Eilat and Mike Rosario in BSL action on Sunday.
The surprise defeat to Hapoel Gilboa/Galil in the quarterfinals of the preseason Winner Cup, which was held at its home arena two weeks ago, had raised some concerns, but Holon was never expecting to open its local league campaign at 0-2, as well as lose its FIBA Champions League opener.
After falling to Hapoel Tel Aviv last week, Holon was beaten at home by Eilat after a tight encounter on Sunday. There was little to separate the teams throughout the night, but Eilat would leave with the win after Rosario went a remarkable 6-of-6 from three-point range in the fourth quarter.
Rosario finished with 23 points, with Eilat moving to 1-1 after losing to Maccabi Tel Aviv last week.
Joe Alexander and Tu Holloway had 21 points each for Holon, which was outrebounded 40-21, allowing Eilat to grab 17 offensive boards.
Holon’s next chance to get off the mark will come on Tuesday when it hosts AS Moncao in its second Champions League game after losing to Murcia in Spain by two points last week.
“This is an unpleasant situation.
You don’t have to be a genius to see that we have a problem in rebounding and we also didn’t play well on defense,” said Holon coach Dan Shamir. “We also don’t quite know how to play together on offense. We have a lot of work ahead of us.”