Ashdod toughs out cup upset vs Hapoel Tel Aviv

Moshe Mizrahi hits 7-of-8 three-point attempts to lead Maccabi Ashdod to a surprise 85-80 win over Hapoel Tel Aviv.

 Hapoel Tel Aviv's CURTIS KELLY  370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Tel Aviv's CURTIS KELLY 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Moshe Mizrahi provided a reminder of why he should still be regarded as one of Israeli basketball’s top sharpshooters on Monday night, hitting 7-of-8 three-point attempts to lead Maccabi Ashdod to a surprise 85-80 win over Hapoel Tel Aviv in the last 16 of the State Cup.
The 32-year-old never really lived up to the expectations of fans and coaches alike in his career, but he played to potential on Monday, scorching Hapoel from beyond the arc time and again to end the game with 29 points.
“The only thing I care about is that we won,” said Mizrahi, who is averaging just 8.6 points per game in the BSL this season.
“We went through a really tough month, but our new American players have balanced our roster and we have a good team.”
Jamie Skeen added 21 points and 10 rebounds for Ashdod.
Curtis Kelly had 23 points for Hapoel, with Matan Naor scoring 15. However, Hapoel was always going to struggle with star guard Demontez Stitt ending the night with just four points.
A Mizrahi three-pointer gave Ashdod a 26-22 lead after 10 minutes and two more points by the Israeli forward took the gap to eight points (35-27) midway through the second quarter.
However, Tel Aviv replied with a 9-0 run and had a two-point edge (46-44) at the break.
A Naor basket increased the margin to seven points (55-48) in the third period, but Mizrahi kept Ashdod within striking distance entering the final frame, hitting another triple as the third-quarter buzzer sounded.
Mizrahi’s fourth three of the final period put Ashdod in front (72- 71) and his fifth with 38 seconds remaining effectively clinched the win, opening a seven-point cushion (82-75) from which Hapoel couldn’t come back.
Bnei Herzliya required a 17-2 run in the third period to overcome the challenge of Hapoel Afula of the National League before claiming a 103-87 win on Monday.
Herzliya had a four-point edge at halftime, but Romel Beck’s three-point play capped a run which gave the visitors an 18- point margin they would easily convert to a win.
Beck led six Herzliya players in double-figures with 21 points and eight rebounds, with Jumaine Jones contributing 19 points, nine boards and seven assists.
Allen Drahem had 31 points and 10 rebounds for Afula.
Maccabi Be’er Ya’akov came back from 17 points down to beat Hapoel Kfar Saba 89-73, becoming the only National League team to progress to the quarterfinals.
A 15-2 run by Kfar Saba gave it a 46-29 lead late in the first half, but Be’er Ya’akov closed to within 11 points (48-37) by the interval and took control of the game with a 30-5 surge, eventually claiming a comfortable double-digit victory.
Brain Laing led Be’er Ya’akov with 28 points and 13 rebounds, while Igor Simin scored 24.
Adam Constantine had 31 points for Kfar Saba.
Ashdod, Herzliya and Be’er Ya’akov joined Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Jerusalem, Maccabi Haifa, Hapoel Eilat and Hapoel Holon, who all won on Sunday, in the cup quarterfinals, with the draw to take place next Tuesday.