Mac TA back to winning ways in the BSL

Yellow-and-blue improves to 2-2 with win in Gilboa; J’lem continues to roll vs Holon.

Alex Tyus Maccabi Tel Aviv 370 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Alex Tyus Maccabi Tel Aviv 370
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
After getting off to its worst ever start in the BSL, Maccabi Tel Aviv was back to its dominant self on Monday night, claiming a comfortable 85-74 victory over Hapoel Gilboa/Galil in Gan Ner.
Maccabi’s start to the season was anything but straightforward, with the yellow-and-blue losing two of its first three games in local action for the first time ever following the shock defeat to Ironi Ness Ziona last week.
However, Tel Aviv improved to 2-1 in the Euroleague with an impressive road win over Lokomotiv Kuban on Friday and moved to 2-2 in the BSL on Monday, effectively clinching the victory with a 50-point first half (50-34).
Also Monday, Hapoel Jerusalem extended its winning streak with a win over Hapoel Holon, while Maccabi Haifa beat Hapoel Eilat and Barak Netanya crushed Maccabi Rishon Lezion.
In Gan Ner, Maccabi was playing without Devin Smith for a fourth straight league game, with Sofoklis Schortsanitis also being rested ahead of Thursday’s Euroleague game at Rytas Vilnius.
However, unlike its previous three BSL encounters, the rest of Maccabi’s roster stepped up its play, ending the first quarter with an 11-0 run to open a double-digit lead (28-18).
Gilboa closed to within five points (30-25), but a Guy Pnini three-pointer shifted the momentum back in Maccabi’s favor (34-25). After failing to score a single point in 14 minutes over the previous three BSL games and in 10 minutes during three Euroleague contests, Pnini played almost 10 minutes in the first half on Monday, scoring eight points. A Shawn James layup capped a 17-4 surge, which opened an 18-point gap (47-29), and Maccabi cruised throughout the second half after taking a 16-point margin (50-34) into the break.
Ricky Hickman had 20 points for Maccabi, with Yogev Ohayon adding 17 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Drago Pasalic had 21 points for Gilboa, which fell to 1-3.
A 35-point third quarter helped Maccabi Haifa to its fifth consecutive win in all competitions on Monday. After scoring just 31 points in the first half and entering the break trailing Hapoel Eilat by nine points, Haifa ran riot in the third period, outscoring the southerners 35-14 to open a 12- point lead (66-54) on the way to an 88-73 win.
Ike Ofoegbu led six Haifa players in double figures with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Donta Smith and Moran Roth had 13 points each.
Terrence Roderick and Flynn Clayman netted 13 points each for Eilat.
Hapoel Jerusalem claimed its third straight BSL win on Monday, improving to 3-2 with a 91-83 victory over Hapoel Holon at Malha Arena. Holon led by as many as 12 points (58-46) in the third quarter, but Jerusalem came back to force a tight finish and held its composure in the closing minutes to clinch the win.
Yotam Halperin and Josh Duncan had 23 points each for Jerusalem, with Ronald Dupree scoring 20 points. Laurence Bowers had 26 points for Holon.
Maccabi Rishon Lezion dropped to its fourth straight defeat on Monday, losing 97-73 at Barak Netanya. The hosts all but secured the victory by the interval, taking a 60-33 lead into the second half.
Bennet Davis had 19 points for Netanya, with Dror Hagag scoring 22 for Rishon, which has lost the last four games by an average 20 points.