Yellow-and-blue takes over BSL top spot

Close conquest in Herzliya keeps Mac TA’s streak alive • Hap TA cruises as Netanya edges Holon.

Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Devin Smith (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Devin Smith
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv survived a roller-coaster encounter to claim its 17th consecutive victory over all competitions on Monday night, beating Bnei Herzliya 90-88 on the road in BSL action.
An early 18-0 run saw Herzliya build a 13-point gap (20-7), which mushroomed to as many as 18 points. However, Maccabi stormed back with a 13-0 surge in three minutes, capped by an Alex Tyus dunk, and completed the comeback and a 21-2 run to take the lead (44-43) through Tyrese Rice’s three-pointer.
The yellow-and-blue also scored the first seven points of the second half to establish a double-digit gap (55-45), but the hosts fought back and led by seven points (82-75) midway through the final frame. But Maccabi wouldn’t be denied, with Devin Smith completing a three-point play with 8.4 seconds remaining to secure an eighth-straight BSL win.
Smith ended the night with 27 points, with Ricky Hickman netting 16 points for Maccabi (13-4), which climbed into first place at least until Hapoel Jerusalem plays next week but was forced to dig deep ahead of Thursday’s visit of Real Madrid in the Euroleague.
Michael Umeh had 28 points, including seven three-pointers, for Herzliya, which fell to 5-12 with its sixth consecutive defeat.
Despite the win, Monday will not be remembered as a good day for Maccabi after center Shawn James was ruled out with a ruptured disc in his back.
An MRI on Sunday revealed the extent of the injury and the American will likely miss the next three months of action and could well not play again this season after back specialist Dr. Ory Keynan recommended surgery on Monday.
Hapoel Tel Aviv strengthened its position in the top four on Monday, snapping its two-game losing streak and improving to 11-6 with a 77-68 victory over Hapoel Gilboa/Galil (7-10) at Hadar Yosef Arena.
After a delay of an hour to the tip-off due to an electric failure which disabled the game and shot clocks, Tel Aviv seized control with an 18-2 run (23-6) and survived a Gilboa comeback to clinch the win.
Carlon Brown led Tel Aviv with 20 points, while Deshawn Sims had 18 points for Gilboa.
Also Monday, a Dawan Robinson basket with three seconds to play gave the struggling Barak Netanya (7-10) an important 83-81 home victory over Hapoel Holon (8-9).
Rashaun Freeman had 21 points and 13 rebounds for Netanya, with Robinson and Antoine Wright scoring 17 points each.
Isaac Rosefelf led Holon with 18 points.