With Zubin Mehta, the internationally acclaimed philharmonic orchestra conductor in attendance, Hapoel couldn’t put on a much better symphony than they did tonight defeating Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion 84-72. On top of that Lior Eliyahu came 1 assist short of a triple-double finishing the game off with 12 points, 10 points and 9 helpers. Matt Janning was the evening’s high scorer with 18 points as Rishon featured 5 players in double figures with Chris Wright dropping 17 points
Tony Gaffney with 10-points kept Jerusalem competitive in the first quarter after Rishon raced out to 12-6 lead, helping the Reds pull within 2-points after ten minutes down 21-19. Shawn Dawson (14pts) led the way for the Orange dropping 7-points including a gorgeous dunk.
Hapoel then took control of the game with a 25-11 second quarter with the help of terrific sharp shooting by Matt Janning who scored 13 points, going 3/4 from beyond the arc. As the players went into the locker rooms at half time, Hapoel led by 12 points, 44-32.
The third quarter was more of the same for Hapoel as they rattled off a 26-21 frame to increase their lead to 70-53 and for all intents and purposes make the last ten minutes garbage time. Yotam Halperin(12pts) led the way for the Reds with 10 points in the quarter but most concerning was the injury to Tony Gaffney as he came up limping early in in the frame and will be sent for X-rays later in the evening.
With the Hapoel players trying to get Eliyahu a triple-double the Reds conceded the final frame to Rishon but came out the big winners on this night.