Maccabi TA routs Bnei Hasharon; European leagues resume

Maccabi coach Pini Gershon gave extended minutes to Kirk Penney and Sharon Shason, who responded with 17 and 14 points.

maccabi TA 88 (photo credit: )
maccabi TA 88
(photo credit: )
Derrick Sharp drilled seven threes and matched a season-high with 22 points to lead Maccabi Tel Aviv past Bnei Hasharon 98-68 on Monday night at Nokia Arena. The game wrapped up Matchday 10, as Maccabi improved to 9-0 and Bnei Hasharon fell to 3-6. Maccabi coach Pini Gershon gave extended minutes to Kirk Penney and Sharon Shason, who responded with 17 and 14 points, respectively. Shason also had a game-high six assists. Ugonna Onyekwe led Bnei Hasharon with 17, while Adam Harrington added 11. Onyekwe's layup on the visitors' first possession gave Bnei Hasharon its first and only lead. Maccabi scored 14 unanswered points to pull ahead and then coasted for the rest of the quarter. Erez Kohansky, who grew up in the Maccabi system, closed the gap to 29-26 midway through the second period, but the reigning BSL champs, led by Penney, finished off the half in style to take a 44-29 halftime lead. Maccabi scored the first two baskets of the second half and began closing in on a 20-point advantage, but two-and-a-half minutes into the third the focus came away from basketball when Will Solomon punched Guy Pnini in the midsection. The referees whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul, but did not eject Solomon from the game. Gershon on the other hand, effectively did, immediately benching his starting point guard and keeping him there the rest of the night. Soon after, Shason made it 51-31 from beyond the arc and Tel Aviv continued to coast. The lead reached 30 before the end of the third and peaked at 85-50 on an Omri Casspi free throw in the closing minutes. Maccabi leaves on Wednesday morning for Zagreb, where it will face Cibona on Thursday in the Euroleague. Hapoel Jerusalem will try to clinch a spot in the ULEB Cup playoffs when it hosts mighty Dynamo Moscow on Tuesday. A win or a loss by Roma to Crvena Zvezda (Red Star) Belgrade would secure Jerusalem's spot among the final 16 teams. Dynamo stomped on Jerusalem when the teams met earlier this season in Moscow. However now that coach Dusan Ivkovic's side has essentially clinched first place in Group D and has little to play for, things may be easier for Jerusalem. Injured center Lazaros Papdopoulos and point guard Bojan Popovic are not expected to dress, however Dynamo still boasts a star-studded lineup that includes Mire Chatman, Ruben Douglas, Antonis Fotsis and Hanno Mottola. Jerusalem arrives injury-free and in good spirits after Sunday's thrashing of Hapoel Galil Elyon-Golan in BSL action. Despite Hapoel's rich European history, this will be only the third time it hosts a Russian side. Unics Kazan won in the capital in 2003, while Hapoel bested Saratov in 1999.