maccabi tel aviv 298.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Maccabi Tel Aviv returned to winning ways on Sunday, defeating Ironi Ashkelon 102-82 after losing its previous two BSL games.
Ashkelon was within touching distance of Maccabi for the first 25 minutes of the game, but the champion's superior roster was far more than the hosts could handle.
Hapoel Jerusalem crashed to yet another road loss, falling 96-90 to an Ironi Ramat Gan side that entered Sunday's game in last place.
"Ramat Gan was very aggressive and we couldn't stop them from the very start of the game," Jerusalem coach Dan Shamir said.
Hapoel Holon, which had led the league in scoring, managed just 56 points on Sunday in its road loss to Maccabi Rishon Lezion.
Also Sunday, Hapoel Afula/Gilboa claimed an important win in its battle against relegation, defeating Hapoel Galil Elyon 87-74.
Maccabi Tel Aviv 102,Ironi Ashkelon 82
Vonteego Cummings scored the first five points of the game to give Maccabi a 5-0 lead and the visitors went on to open a quick 14 point margin (19-5). Marcus Fizer's tip-in at the end of the first period maintained Tel Aviv's comfortable advantage (25-16) and the team seemed to be cruising to the win.
A 17-5 Ashkelon run to start the second quarter gave the hosts a 33-30 lead and made clear that Maccabi would not be having it all its own way. However Tel Aviv opened a 52-43 halftime cushion.
Ironi edged its way back into the match in the third quarter and H.L Coleman's three midway through the period tied the score (59-59). Once more, however, Maccabi was the sharper team in the closing stages of a quarter and Sharp's basket from beyond the arc gave the team a 77-64 lead with 10 minutes to play.
Ironi Ramat Gan 96, Hapoel Jerusalem 90
A high scoring first quarter ended in a 32-30 Jerusalem lead and the visitors were ahead by six points (52-46) at the interval. Ramat Gan opened a 58-57 lead in the third period, but Hapoel took a two point advantage (74-72) into the final 10 minutes of the game.
Jerusalem couldn't hold on to the slender lead, as the closing stages of the game were dominated by Brian Tolbert. The American scored six points in the final 68 seconds of the encounter to clinch an important win for the hosts.
Maccabi Rishon Lezion 67, Hapoel Holon 56
After combining for just 24 points in the first quarter, the teams struggled to score in the second period and the hosts led 26-20 after 20 minutes.
Holon scored nearly the same amount in the third quarter as it did in the entire first half, but Rishon also improved and extended its margin to 11 points (50-39).
A double-digit lead was far too big a margin for Hapoel to overcome in the final 10 minutes and the hosts won their second straight home game.
Hapoel Afula/Gilboa87,Hapoel Galil Elyon 74
The hosts led by three after 10 minutes (27-24), but a late Afula/Gilboa run gave the visitors a 47-44 advantage at the break.
The visitors continued to pull ahead in the third period, opening a double-digit lead, and went on to claim their third road win of the season. Jermaine Hall led the winners with 20 points.
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