Mac attack back on the prowl with 22-pt. trouncing of Haifa

Tel Aviv encountered few problems against Haifa, leading by double-figures throughout the second half.

basketball guy pnini 311 (photo credit: BSL)
basketball guy pnini 311
(photo credit: BSL)
Maccabi Tel Aviv returned to winning ways in the BSL on Sunday night, thrashing Maccabi Haifa 101-79 at the Nokia Arena, a week after suffering its first league defeat of the season at Barak Netanya.
Tel Aviv encountered few problems against Haifa in a repeat of last year’s Final Four title game, leading by double-figures throughout the second half en route to a confidence-boosting victory ahead of Thursday’s vital Euroleague Top 16 encounter against Real Madrid.
Maccabi played perhaps its best game of the season in its Top 16 opener at Montepaschi Siena last Thursday, but still left Italy empty-handed, and another loss against Real will all but end its hopes of reaching the quarterfinals after just two games.
Chuck Eidson led Maccabi with 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists, with four other Tel Aviv players reaching double-figures.
Doron Perkins, Guy Pnini, D’or Fischer and David Bluthenthal scored 16, 15, 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Richard Roby and Jason Rich each scored 20 points for Haifa, which has now lost two games in a row after winning seven straight.
Also Sunday, Hapoel Gilboa/Galil suffered its worst defeat of the season, losing 84-68 at Ironi Ashkelon. Barak Netanya continued its excellent form with an 81-76 win at Ironi Nahariya, with Bnei Hasharon thumping Ironi Ramat Gan 96-55.
Hapoel Afula hosts Hapoel Holon on Monday.
There were more turnovers than points at the start of the game at the Nokia Arena and a disappointing first period ended with a 20-16 Tel Aviv advantage. The hosts finally found their range in the second quarter, and with Haifa still struggling on offense, Tel Aviv easily opened a comfortable margin.
The yellow-and-blue scored eight points in the first minute of the second period, with Bluthenthal’s three-pointer giving the team a 28-16 gap. The hosts continued to hold a double-digit margin for the remainder of the quarter and had no trouble opening a 53-38 lead by the interval.
The hosts extended their advantage to 21 points (64-43) at the beginning of the second half, but then dropped their intensity, allowing the visitors to cut the margin.
Haifa ended the period with a 14-4 run, capped by Roby’s crazy buzzer-beater, and was down by just 10 points (72-62) with 10 minutes remaining.
However, Tel Aviv began the first three minutes of the final frame with a 10-0 run, ended any illusions the visitors may have had of traveling back North as the winners.
In Ashkelon, the hosts got off to a quick start and never looked back. Ashkelon led 22-17 after 10 minutes and 38-32 at the break, and would clinch the victory in the third period. Ariel Beit-Halachmi’s team outscored Oded Katash’s men 25-16 in the third quarter and cruised to its first win since November, snapping a five-game losing streak.
Omar Sneed had 29 points, five rebounds and five assists for Ashkelon, with Jimmy Baxter and Moran Rot adding 19 and 16 points, respectively.
Brian Randle had 15 points for Gilboa, which had won its last four games.
Netanya coach Arik Alfasi was concerned ahead of Sunday’s game that his team might suffer a hangover after last week’s stunning victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv. However, the newly-promoted club continued its impressive run, defeating Nahariya despite beginning the game in a 14-0 hole.
Netanya trailed 29-14 at the end of the first period, but was just six points (43-37) down at halftime and would complete its comeback in the closing stages of the game.
Danilo Pinnock led Netanya with 30 points and eight rebounds, with Marco Killingsworth adding 17 points and 12 rebounds.
New-signee Steven Smith and Paul Delaney scored 22 points each forNahariya, which suffered its seventh loss in its last eight games.
Ironi Ramat Gan finally claimed its first win of the season last week,but it was brought back down to earth in painful fashion on Sunday.Bnei Hasharon outscored Ramat Gan 34-5 in the second period to take astranglehold of the game before running riot for its biggest win of theseason.
Cookie Belcher and Isaac Rosenfelt scored 19 points each for thevictors, with Brandon Ewing leading the league’s weakest team with 14points.