Maccabi Tel Aviv powers past Hapoel Jerusalem

Wilbekin and Dorsey combine for 41 to propel yellow-and-blue • Rishon dominates Holon • Beershena, Giboa claim tight triumphs.

DENI AVDIJA (back) and Maccabi Tel Aviv were too strong for TaShawn Thomas (35) and Hapoel Jerusalem on Sunday night, defeating the visiting Reds 89-73 in Israeli Premier League action. (Adi Avishai) (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
DENI AVDIJA (back) and Maccabi Tel Aviv were too strong for TaShawn Thomas (35) and Hapoel Jerusalem on Sunday night, defeating the visiting Reds 89-73 in Israeli Premier League action. (Adi Avishai)
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv disposed of Hapoel Jerusalem 89-73 on Sunday night in the Israeli basketball Clasico at Yad Eliyahu thanks to memorable nights from Scottie Wilbekin and Tyler Dorsey, who made his Israeli Premier League debut.
The yellow-and-blue duo combined for 41 points, including 20 three-pointers, to wipe out a one-point halftime deficit. Jerusalem’s J’Covan Brown and James Feldeine tried their best with 10 triples of their own, but Maccabi’s second-half firepower was too much for the Reds to handle as they fell to their first defeat of the season.
Wilbekin scored 26 points, Dorsey added 15 points and Omri Casspi chipped in with 13 points for Tel Aviv, which dominated the boards, grabbing 44 rebounds to Jerusalem’s 26. Brown led all scorers with 27 points, Feldeine scored 18 points and TaShawn Thomas dropped 14 points for Hapoel in the loss.
Inside a packed Yad , Maccabi and Jerusalem went neck-and-neck early on as Nate Wolters did the damage for the yellow-and-blue while Feldeine hit a pair of triples for the Reds midway through the first quarter. Brown got into the act with eight points including two three-pointers as Oded Katash’s squad took a 20-13 lead after 10 minutes.
Brown picked up where he left off at the start of the second quarter with yet another three, but Maccabi quickly cut down the Jerusalem lead to 25-21 with triples by Tyler Dorsey and Scottie Wilbekin plus a layup by Deni Avdija, forcing Katash to call a timeout.
Dorsey continued to score, but Thomas notched four straight points for Jerusalem and Brown stayed hot, finishing the frame with 17 points, as the Reds took a slim 37-36 advantage into halftime.
Both squads scored at will to start the second half, but it was Wilbekin with a trio of triples that gave Maccabi a 52-44 lead midway through the third quarter. Wilbekin immediately hit another three-pointer and buckets by Tarik Black, Jake Cohen and another Dorsey three-pointer gave the yellow-and-blue a 34-18 quarter to go ahead 70-55 at the end of 30 minutes.
Feldeine and Brown made sure Jerusalem wouldn’t go down without a fight as they each hit a triple to open the fourth quarter, but Wilbekin answered back with an and-one of his own to keep Maccabi in the driver’s seat early on in the final frame. Dorsey and Wilbekin once again each drilled home from deep as the yellow-and-blue ran away with the convincing 16-point victory.
“The picture on the court was very obvious that we played better in the second half and it was a great half,” said Maccabi coach Ioannis Sfairpoulos following the game. “We moved the ball and found a lot of open shots for Scottie and Tyler.”
Katash also looked back at the contest with perspective on his side’s effort.
“We were able to neutralize Maccabi and their guards in the first quarter, but the third quarter everything fell apart on both sides of the floor,” said Katash. “We gave Wilbekin the shots we didn’t want him to get and he hit them.”
Elsewhere, in a much anticipated matchup, Maccabi Rishon Lezion blasted Hapoel Holon 84-59 thanks to a fantastic defensive display, especially in a second half in which Rishon held the visitors to just 18 points.
Johnathan Williams recorded a double-double with 17 points and 11 assists, Jordan Swing added 15 points, while Alex Hamilton and Darryl Monroe each scored 12 points in the win. Only two players notched double-digits for Sharon Drucker’s Holon as Marcus Foster dropped 15 points and Latavious Williams chipped in with 14 points in the loss that featured the return of naturalized Israeli Rich Howell to Israel.
Also, Hapoel Beersheba slipped by Ness Ziona 82-81 for its second win in a row, with captain Spencer Weisz once again starring for the southern Reds clocking in with a double-double (15 points and 14 rebounds). Da’Sean Butler dropped 20 points while John Petrucelli scored 14 points on his birthday for Beersheba. Jeff Withey continued his fine play of late with 17 points and 14 rebounds and veteran guard Raviv Limonad added 15 points for Ness Ziona in the loss.
Hapoel Gilboa/Galil squeaked by Maccabi Ashdod 91-89 as Jamar Gulley hit a game-winning three pointer as time expired in overtime. Gulley ended the night with 26 points, while Justin Tillman checked in with a tremendous 22-point and 23-rebound effort to secure the victory for Lior Lubin’s team.
Elijah Johnson led Brad Greenberg’s port city side with 22 points as Noah Dickerson scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in defeat.