Hapoel Jerusalem forward Josh Duncan 370.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
A gutsy Guy Pnini performance saved Maccabi Tel Aviv from a fourth BSL defeat of
the season on Monday night, with the guard scoring 22 points to lead the
yellow-and-blue to a nerve-wracking 83-79 win over Hapoel Eilat at Nokia
Pnini had scored just 25 points in total in Maccabi’s first seven
BSL games, but he was called into action on Monday and answered with a superb
shooting display, hitting 9-of-12 shots, including three
Maccabi entered the game on the back of two straight
defeats, the derby loss to Hapoel Tel Aviv and the Euroleague setback against
Laboral Vitoria. The pressure clearly took its toll, but Eilat ultimately
couldn’t take advantage and the yellow-and-blue eked out a critical
Also Monday, Hapoel Jerusalem recorded its fifth win in six BSL
games, beating Hapoel Tel Aviv 75-70 at Hadar Yosef Arena, while Hapoel Holon
handed Maccabi Ashdod its sixth defeat in seven games, winning
Scottie Reynolds had 21 points for Holon, which clinched the win
thanks to a 14-0 run to start the fourth quarter (69-49). Xavier Silas scored 17
At Nokia, Eilat got off to a blinding start, with a Nitzan
Hanochi three-pointer opening a 19-6 lead and forcing Maccabi coach David Blatt
into an early timeout.
Terrence Roderick took Eilat’s margin to a record
15 points (21-6), but Maccabi would score the final seven points of the first
period to limit the damage (23-15).
Tel Aviv maintained the momentum in
the second quarter, with a Yogev Ohayon lay-up tying the score at
The hosts were still trailing at the break (37-35), but they
seemed to seize control with a 14-2 run in the third quarter capped by a Guy
Pnini triple (55-46).
However, just when it seemed that the
yellow-and-blue had finally found their range, Maccabi allowed Eilat back into
the game and it was the southerners who had the edge with 10 minutes to play
after Niv Berkowitz capped a 14-2 surge to end the frame (60-57).
Eilat more than two minutes to score its first points of the fourth quarter and
six straight points by Pnini put Maccabi in the driving seat
Another Pnini three with just over two minutes to play extended
the gap to eight points (76-68), but Maccabi would make almost every mistake
possible, failing to grab a defensive rebound time and again, and it wasn’t
until Ohayon’s lay-up to beat the final buzzer that Tel Aviv secured the
Ohayon ended the night with 13 points, while Yancy Gates scored 21
Earlier Monday, a 10-2 run put Jerusalem in control in the
first period (19-11), with Ronald Dupree and Josh Duncan scoring nine points
each in the first 10 minutes to give the visitors and nine-point advantage
Jerusalem still held a significant margin (41-32) at halftime,
but Tel Aviv never gave up the chase and Carlon Brown’s three-pointer with 2:35
to play cut the deficit to just three points (69- 66).
But the hosts
would miss several chances to complete the comeback, the last of which when
Raviv Limonad turned over the ball with his team trailing by three points with
nine seconds to play.
Dupree ended the night with 22 points, with Duncan
contributing 17 points and seven rebounds. Lior Eliyhau recorded a double-double
of 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Brown had 18 points for Tel Aviv, which
fell to 3-4.