Yellow-and-blue pulls out tough triumph over Ashkelon

Maccabi’s superior experience shows in the final stages of tight win.

Hendrix 311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Hendrix 311
(photo credit: Reuters)
Maccabi Tel Aviv only barely avoided a shock BSL defeat on Monday night, edging Ironi Ashkelon 87-83 on the road.
There was little to separate the teams throughout the 40 minutes in Ashkelon, but Maccabi’s superior experience showed in the final stages and the yellowand- blue held on for a tight win.
Tel Aviv committed 15 turnovers and struggled from beyond the arc once more, hitting four of 17 three-point attempts. But Richard Hendrix and Lior Eliyahu scored 17 points each under the basket and David Blu added 15 points, hitting three triples in the fourth quarter that were crucial to Maccabi’s victory.
“Ashkelon played outstandingly,” Maccabi coach David Blatt said. “This was our third game in four days and that isn’t easy. This is one of the things we will have to get used to during the season.”
Raymar Morgan scored 23 points for Ashkelon, with Marco Killingsworth and Dwayne Mitchell adding 17 points each for Eric Alfasi’s team, which has gotten the season off to an impressive start after also winning its opener at Maccabi Ashdod last week.
Maccabi’s new signing, Keith Langford, didn’t take part in Monday’s game after only arriving in Israel earlier in the day.
However, the 28-year-old American, who led the Euroleague regular season in scoring last year with 18.7 points per game for BC Khimki Moscow, denied claims that he is not fully fit and said he is hoping to play for Maccabi as soon as possible, perhaps even in Thursday’s Euroleague home opener against Partizan Belgrade.
“There have been a lot of things said about me not being fit but those are not true,” Langford said. “I’ve worked over the summer and I just need time to play. Physically I’m fine.”