Somehow the Reds pulled off the win. And they did it with a terrific second half from EJ Rowland who scored 16 points in the last 20 minutes to overcome 27 points from Michael Umeh. But the real winner of the game was the Donta Smith to Lior Eliyahu slam dunk as the time clicked down to take the much needed victory.
Nahariya opened up the game with 13 points from Michael Umeh as the Nigerian/American hit 3/4 3-point attempts giving the northern club a 23-18 lead after ten minutes. The second quarter saw the visitors pad their advantage as Nahariya dominated the glass with 21 total rebounds not giving Jerusalem any second chances on the offensive boards. At the break the home side was in the hole by 9-points, 41-32.
The second half began how the first ended as Nahariya continued to control the tempo. The visitors extended their lead to 12-points but Jerusalem launched a ferocious comeback led by EJ Rowland who dropped 11 points in the frame to pull the Reds to within four points, 56-52.
Rowland continued his hot shooting to start the final quarter and along with Bar Timor and Donta Smith, Jerusalem pulled ahead of Nahariya. But a pair of Michael Umeh 3-pointers and a Richard Howell layup gave Nahariya the 68-67 lead with 2:26 left in the game. With the game tied at 71, Lior Eliyahu took a Donta Smith pass and slammed it home with 2.5 seconds for the win in a game they should’ve never won. But as they say, never question the heart of a champion.
By Aaron Glenn
The Yellow-and-Blue pulled through an upset bid with a big victory over Rishon Le’zion. Tel Aviv came out of halftime firing from all cylinders, starting the 3rd quarter on a 10-2 run. The team play of Tel Aviv helped them fend of the 76 combined points from Rishon’s three headed monster Mark Lyons, Shawn Dawson, and Darryl Monroe. A big reason for this win was Tel Aviv’s clutch free throws down the stretch.
Both teams started this match by getting the ball to the low block and putting in easy layups. Sylvan Landesberg helped Tel Aviv take the lead 16-15 with an And-1 dunk that took the crowd out of there seats. Tel Aviv’s ball movement helped them create easy looks from the paint and from beyond the arc. The score after one quarter was 26-25 in favor of the Yellow-and-Blue.
Shawn Dawson got hot in the second quarter starting off by draining a tough three with a defender in his face. He then hit a perfectly executed reverse alley-oop dunk off of an inbounds play. Rishon Le’zion them took the lead 33-32 on Shawn Dawson’s fancy spin move that lead to an easy layup. On the Tel Aviv side, Elijah Milsap made his presence felt in his debut with 7 quick second quarter points. Rishon Le’zion got hot at the end of the second to take a 45-39 lead, but Tel Aviv finished the half strong making it 45-44 Rishon Le’zion as the team’s went into the break.
The 3rd quarter was all Tel Aviv, starting on a quick 10-2 run and never looked back. Itay Segev kept the crowd going with a powerful dunk. Tel Aviv was on a huge run and outscored Rishon Le’Zion by 16 in the frame to take a 15 point lead in the game.
To start the 4th, Tel Aviv extended its lead by hitting open jumpers and making smart passes to cutters in the paint. But suddenly the Yellow-and-Blue got sloppy with the ball and made some bad passes that lead to easy points for Rishon. Mark Lyons and Darryl Monroe got hot to scare Tel Aviv and cut the lead to 5 points. Rishon’s comeback bid came a bit too late as four clutch free throws from Gal Mekel clinched the matchup for Maccabi.
Mark Lyons led all players with a game high 29 points. Gal Mekel was an efficient 7/7 on field goal attempts ending up with 17 points and 12 rebounds. In his debut, Elijah Milsap had 12 points in his 15 minutes of play. The difference maker in this game was Tel Aviv’s (20-21) 95% shooting from the stripe compared to Rishon’s (21-30) 70%. This game went back and forth until Maccabi extended its lead to 15 points in the third, and it was too late for Rishon to come back.
Dan Shamir’s side picked up a much needed win defeating Haifa by 8-points. Will Clyburn dropped 21 points for the hosts while Isaac Rosefelt picked up a double-double scoring 16 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. Rene Rougeau and Chanan Colman had poor games in the loss, scoring a combined 14 points.
Ashdod’s Diante Garrett led his team to victory putting in 18 points while dishing out 13 assists. Charles Thomas helped out adding another double double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. In a losing effort Yuval Naimi carried his team with 35 points. This game was all but over heading into the 4th quarter. With Nes Ziona up by 12 however, Ashdod delivered a ferocious comeback to win the game by 5.
Kiryat Gat got the win thanks to 20+ point performances by Tucker, Delaney, and Killingsworth. Kiryat Gat was on fire shooting 54% from beyond the arc. Jeff Allen and Raviv Limonad combined for 41 points in their defeat.
Mickey Gorka’s squad picked up the victory defeating Eilat by 8 points. Stephen Dennis and Drew Crawford had a team high 18 points for Herzliya. Alade Aminu attempted to carry his team in the loss, putting in a game highs with 24 points and 14 rebounds.