Haifa topples Netanya in EuroChallenge

Maccabi Haifa center Marco Killingsworth led his team to an 80-73 victory over Barak Netanya in the EuroChallenge Last 16, scoring 21 points.

Maccabi Haifa 311 (photo credit: Maccabi Haifa website)
Maccabi Haifa 311
(photo credit: Maccabi Haifa website)
Maccabi Haifa finally had something to smile about on Tuesday, defeating Barak Netanya 80-73 on the road in the EuroChallenge Last 16.
Despite replacing coach Elad Hasin with his assistant Ami Nawi a month ago, Haifa continued to suffer loss after loss in the BSL, falling in 10 of its last 11 league games.
However, two of Haifa’s three league wins this season have come against Netanya, and thanks to a late 15-2 run on Tuesday, the Greens once more got the better of Eric Alfasi’s men.
Marco Killingsworth scored 21 points for Haifa, with Robert Rothbart adding 17 for Nawi’s team, which improved to 1-1 in Group I.
Elton Brown had 26 points and nine rebounds for Netanya, which falls to 0-2 in the Last 16.
Tzvika Sherf’s Spartak St. Petersburg leads the group with a 2-0 record after beating Lukoil Academic Sofia 71-63 on Tuesday.
Netanya had the edge after a tight first period (21-18), but a Sylven Landesberg lay-up midway through the second quarter gave Haifa a five-point cushion (31-26).
There was still little to separate the teams at the break, with Haifa leading 39-35.
A Frank Robinson three-pointer at the start of the third frame gave the visitors their biggest lead of the night (44-37), but Netanya came right back and nursed a slim 54-53 advantage with 10 minutes to play.
Netanya continued to lead for the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter, but stunningly it was Haifa which would have the last laugh.
Eran Asante’s basket gave the hosts a 67-62 lead with 4:34 to play, but Netanya added just two more points in the next three-and-a-half minutes while Killingsworth scored at will on the other end.
Haifa’s American center scored 10 of his team’s points in a 15-2 run that opened an eight-point gap (77-69), which even the woeful Haifa could not lose on its way to claiming a crucial victory.