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Maccabi Tel Aviv guard Gal Mekel.(Photo by: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv pulls out overtime squeaker in Nahariya
The yellow-and-blue also trailed early in the extra period, but eventually eked out a win.
Maccabi Tel Aviv survived a mighty scare to get its BSL campaign off to a winning start on Sunday night, beating Ironi Nahariya 97-93 after overtime at Ein Sara Arena.

Maccabi trailed by 11 points with just over a minute to play in regulation, but Andrew Goudelock’s three-pointer with 3.5 seconds to go sent the game to overtime after Guy Pnini dragged Tel Aviv back into the game.

The yellow-and-blue also trailed early in the extra period, but eventually eked out a win which will give it plenty of confidence ahead of Thursday’s Euroleague opener at Olimpia Milano.

Maccabi entered the game on the back of two consecutive painful pre-season defeats, falling to Hapoel Jerusalem in the Winner Cup final before losing to David Blatt’s Darussafaka at Yad Eliyahu Arena.

Tel Aviv thrashed Nahariya by 30 points in the semifinals of the Winner Cup 10 days ago, but Nahariya looked like a different team after advancing to the group stage of the FIBA Champions League last Thursday.

It didn’t do enough to claim a win though, dropping to a heartbreaking loss.

Goudelock had 21 points in 21 minutes in his return from injury, with Pnini scoring 14 points. Gilbert Brown scored 38 points for Nahariya.

Nahariya got off to a flying start, scoring 10 of the 11 first points.

It took Maccabi four minutes to score its first field goal of the night, but it moved in front not long afterwards, with Gal Mekel’s basket giving the yellow- and-blue its first lead of the night (16-15) with 2:45 minutes remaining in the first period.

But Maccabi couldn’t build on the momentum, with a 12-2 Nahariya run opening a ninepoint margin (39-30). Tel Aviv limited the damage until the break, closing to within four points (43-39), but the hosts scored the first six points of the second half to establish a double- digit margin.

Nahariya took an eight-point advantage (62-54) into the final frame, but was in serious trouble after Victor Rudd was ejected with two technical fouls early in the quarter.

The game looked to be as good as over when Marquis Teague gave the hosts an 86-75 lead with 1:21 minutes remaining.

But Nahariya would self-destruct, with Pnini hitting two consecutive three-pointers before Goudelock tied the game and Maccabi triumphed in overtime.

Three more games will take place on Monday. Reigning champion Maccabi Rishon Lezion begins its title defense against Hapoel Eilat, Maccabi Ashdod welcomes Maccabi Kiryat Gat and Hapoel Gilboa/ Galil visits Hapoel Holon.

Maccabi Haifa’s game against Hapoel Tel Aviv was postponed to October 19, with Haifa currently in the US preparing for Monday’s encounter against the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.
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