Yellow-and-blue has little trouble overcoming southerners to get on track ahead of Bamberg test
By ALLON SINAI
Maccabi Tel Aviv picked up some much-needed confidence on Monday night, claiming a comfortable 82-63 victory over Hapoel Eilat in BSL action at Yad Eliyahu Arena.After losing to Hapoel Tel Aviv in the derby last week and dropping to .500 in the Euroleague for the first time in more than two months on Friday, Maccabi dominated Eilat and improved to a 10-2 record, returning to first place in the standings above Hapoel Holon.“I don’t think it was good basketball but we won,” said Maccabi coach Neven Spahija, who was far more concerned with Thursday’s Euroleague game against Brose Bamberg of Germany. “Maybe it is good news that we can win by 20 playing average basketball. We shared the minutes, nobody got hurt and we won the game so I can’t be unhappy.”John DiBartolomeo had 13 points for Maccabi, with Karam Mashour and Jonah Bolden adding 12 points each. Jordan Loyd scored 24 points for Eilat, which fell to 5-7.“On the one hand, this gap shows the difference in quality between the teams,” said Eilat coach Sharon Drucker.“But on the other hand, we had some chances to change the momentum and it could have been a different story had we taken advantage.”Earlier Monday, Maccabi Ashdod recorded its fourth straight win over all competitions, snapping Hapoel Gilboa/Galil’s fourgame BSL winning streak with an 81-64 victory.Ashdod improved to 5-7, building on its progress to the State Cup semifinals. Nimrod Levy was excellent once more with 20 points for Ashdod. J’Covan Brown had 18 points for Gilboa, which dropped to 7-5, losing for the first time since November 19.Bnei Herzliya picked up its first win since the hiring of Arik Shivek, edging Ironi Ness Ziona 86-82 on the road. Herzliya had lost in Shivek’s debut last week, but snapped a five-game losing streak and claimed its first victory in nearly two months after surviving a tight affair on the back of 28 points by Taurean Green.Jeff Adrien added 23 points and 12 boards for Herzliya, which improved to 3-9 on the season and moved level with Ness Ziona.Daequan Cook had 21 points for Ness Ziona, which lost its third straight contest.Maccabi Haifa (4-8) is just one game above the bottom two after falling 87-73 at Maccabi Rishon Lezion. Haifa was within a single point (50-49) entering the final two minutes of the third quarter, but the hosts scored seven of the final eight points of the frame and opened the final period with an 8-0 run to establish a 15-point gap (65-50) Haifa couldn’t erase.Drew Crawford had 19 points for Rishon, which moved to 6-6.Zach Graham led five Haifa players in double figures with 18 points.BSL action resumes on Wednesday when Hapoel Jerusalem hosts Ironi Nahariya. The game was postponed from Sunday due to the strike called by the Jerusalem Municipality.On Tuesday, Jerusalem, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Holon and Maccabi Ashdod will discover who they face in the State Cup semifinals. The semis will be held at Yad Eliyahu Arena on February 12, with the final to take place at the same venue three days later.The draw will be held at halftime of Holon’s FIBA Champions League game against BC Juventus of Lithuania. Holon, which has won nine of its past 10 BSL contests, still has five more regular season games to play, but is already on the brink of elimination.Holon is sixth in Group A with a 2-7 record, three games back of Murcia in fourth, with the top four to advance to the round of 16.
var cont = `Sign up for The Jerusalem Post Premium Plus for just $5
Upgrade your reading experience with an ad-free environment and exclusive content