Maccabi Tel Aviv moved into the Winner Cup semifinals after downing a tough Hapoel Gilboa/Galil side 85-75 on Tuesday night.
The yellow-and-blue players struggled all game long to find their rhythm as Rami Hadar’s squad gave Oded Katash’s fits, but Bonzie Colson, Wade Baldwin and John DiBartolomeo began to take control of the contest in the second half and neutralized Justin Gorham and Rashard Odomes to take the win.
What's next for Maccabi Tel Aviv?
Next up for Maccabi is Hapoel Holon on Thursday night in semifinal action back in Hadera, with the winner facing either Hapoel Tel Aviv or Hapoel Jerusalem in the final of the preseason tournament.
The yellow-and-blue may have point guard Lorenzo Brown available for that clash as he is waiting to make his Israeli debut after he led Spain to the European Championship title earlier in the month.
Colson paced Maccabi with 16 points, Baldwin added 15 points and six assists while Roman Sorkin finished the game with 12 points in the win. Odomes led Gilboa with 23 points and Gorham added 22 points and nine rebounds.
“We played hard and we are still learning about each other. We tried to implement things that we have worked on and it was a good win for us.”Bonzie Colson, Maccabi Tel Aviv forward
“I am happy that we won and I don’t take anything for granted,” Maccabi coach Oded Katash said. “We played against a very aggressive team and one that knows what they want to do on the court. We won despite only shooting 20% from the outside, but we are still missing some stability and there are plenty of things that we need to still work on and improve.”
“We weren’t able to hold onto the game in the last quarter,” said Gilboa/Galil bench boss Hadar. “They killed us on rebounds and their physicality down the stretch. The stats from this game are a red light and we see that there are issues for a team that is just at the start of the season.”
Colson, the game’s MVP, reflected on the win.
“We played hard and we are still learning about each other. We tried to implement things that we have worked on and it was a good win for us. We had a lot of hustle plays and we defended really well. Personally, I am getting comfortable and learning what the guys and coaches want and I will always play hard and with a lot of energy.”
Gorham spoke about the game from his point of view.
“It was a tough loss and came down to execution in the fourth quarter. It was a good first test, but we have work to do. Deep down, we feel that we should have come out on top. We aren’t afraid as to who we are playing and it doesn’t matter what competition.”
Gilboa got off to a quick start as Gorham, Josh Perkins and Odomes helped Hadar’s squad to an 8-0 run and an 18-11 lead. But Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Sorkin and Darrun Hilliard quickly cut down the advantage to knot the game up at 20-20 after 10 minutes of play.
Payton Willis got busy to begin the second quarter to send Gilboa on an 11-0 run, but Katash’s crew saw Colson put down a couple of dunks while Sorkin scored as well to keep the contest all tied up at 39-39 at halftime.
Tel Aviv ramped up the offense to get the third quarter under way as DiBartolomeo and Colson got busy in the paint. But the Gilboa duo of Odomes and Gorham kept the Galilee team close as the yellow-and-blue held onto a 64-59 lead after 30 minutes.
Colson found points on the inside while DiBartolomeo scored on the outside, but Gorham kept finding the basket to keep things tight in the fourth. However Alex Poythress, who had been in foul trouble all game, put down a pair of monster dunks to polish off Gilboa and give Maccabi the 10-point conquest.