Yellow-and-blue outlast Mac Haifa in OT

Hot Hap J’lem ready to square off against tough BCM Gravelines in Eurocup action.

MACCABI TEL AVIV’S Keith Langford_311 (photo credit: BSL)
MACCABI TEL AVIV’S Keith Langford_311
(photo credit: BSL)
Maccabi Tel Aviv began life without Jordan Farmar with a win on Monday night, but it had to dig deep before recording an 84-79 overtime victory over Maccabi Haifa in BSL action in Nesher.
The yellow-and-blue opened the game with a 12-2 run, but it trailed 37-36 at the break and was fortunate not to suffer a second straight league defeat after losing to Hapoel Jerusalem last week.
A David Blu jumper and a nervy final minute by the hosts sent the game into an extra period dominated by Tel Aviv’s Richard Hendrix, who scored 13 points in five minutes to secure the win.
Hendrix ended the game with 19 points and eight rebounds, with Shawn James adding 15 points and 11 rebounds and Blu contributing 13 points and 12 boards.
Jermaine Jackson had 20 points for Haifa, which will not get a better chance to defeat Tel Aviv.
Besides missing Farmar, who will return to the New Jersey Nets in the coming days following the end to the NBA lockout, Maccabi was also without the sick Lior Eliyahu as well as Sofoklis Schortsanitis and Devin Smith, who were not among the four foreigners coach David Blatt registered for the game.
However, the encounter in Nesher looked to be as good as over after four minutes, with Yogev Ohayon’s basket giving Tel Aviv an early double-digit gap (12-2).
The hosts eventually found their range and closed to within six points (19-13) after 10 minutes against the understrength yellow-and-blue.
An Avi Ben-Shimul basket capped an 11-2 Haifa run which tied the score at 21-21 early in the second period before Sylven Landesberg’s three-point play gave the Greens their first lead of the night (28-26) with 4:37 remaining in the first half.
Haifa still had the edge (37- 36) at the break, but the hosts squandered chance after chance to increase their cushion against a disoriented Tel Aviv team and the visitors took a 51-50 lead into the final 10 minutes.
Jackson’s jumper with 5:50 to go put Haifa back in front, but four straight points by Keith Langford, his first of the night, gave the visitors the lead (59- 57) once more with 3:35 remaining.
The game continued to go back and forth until the final whistle, with a Tyler Wilkerson three opening a 63-59 lead, only for Langford to tie the score (63- 63) with 1:36 on the clock.
Carlos Powell missed a golden opportunity to open a significant four-point gap when he missed two free throws with 36 seconds to play and the encounter went into overtime after Blu tied the score with a long jumper with 24 seconds left and Haifa failed to get off a shot in the final moments.
Predictably, Haifa ended up regretting its missed opportunities, with Hendrix scoring 13 points in the extra period to ensure Tel Aviv didn’t suffer a second straight league defeat.
In other BSL news, Bnei Hasharon fired coach Roei Hagay on Monday.
Bnei Hasharon lost on Sunday for the fifth time in six games, falling to an 84-82 home defeat to Hapoel Gilboa/Galil.
J'lem looks to continue momentum against Gravelines in Eurocup.
After winning three straight BSL games, including at Maccabi Tel Aviv, to get its league campaign back on track, Hapoel Jerusalem will look to take a significant step towards the Eurocup Last 16 when it hosts BCM Gravelines of France on Tuesday night.
Hapoel got its Eurocup campaign rolling with an 89-73 victory over Cibona Zagreb last week, moving to 1-1 in Group A.
Gravelines has got the regular season off to a flying start, crushing Cibona by 30 points on the road before thrashing BC Donetsk, which beat Hapoel two weeks ago, by 25 points.