After a fabulous first quarter which saw the Yellow & Blue play solid basketball scoring 26 points, 12 coming via Gal Mekel while the team pulled down 10 rebounds and dished out 6 assists. But it was all downhill from that point on. Maccabi allowed Eilat to score 58 second half points thanks to a high octane offense featuring Landon Milbourne who scored 32 points while Pierria Henry added 16 points and 9 assists in the win. Reginald Buckner and Milbourne hammered down mid second quarter dunks to give the hosts the lead and gave them the confidence that a potential upset was in the cards.
The Maccabi attack was paced by Gal Mekel’s 23 points and Andrew Goudelock’s 19 but didn’t get much contribution from DJ Seely who played 17 minutes and came away with a disappointing zero points on 0/3 shooting. Add Maik Zirbes and his 2 points, 2 rebounds and 3 fouls in 10 minutes to the situation plus the 30 points scored by Eilat on 19 turnovers and one can say that Maccabi left Eilat very disappointed in their play and effort on both ends of the floor.
Head Coach Ainars Bagatskis said following the game:
“We started the game well and it was important for us to start strong. Then we started to hesitate and from there it went downhill.”
The short rotation:
“Generally we have 8 players in our practices because players have been sick. But that is not an excuse because they also played with a short rotation
The Russian Rule:
“I have no comment about the Russian rule. But Israel is only one of two countries that use it.”
About the community programs that the team did in Eilat:
“The community activities were important for us, we are those kids idols.”
Kiryat Gat was a shell of the team Hapoel faced on the road a few months ago when the still had veterans like James Singelton, however now with a group of rag tag players the Reds dominated every facet of the contest winning by 49 points. With Head Coach Simone Piangiani at home ill, assistant coach Modi Maor manned the sidelines and saw Israeli Bar Timor play one of his best games of the season as he dropped 13 points and dished out 5 assists in 30 minutes but more importantly paced the Jerusalem offense. Travis Peterson also scored 13 points and pulled down ten rebounds, Curtis Jerrells finished with 12 points while Amare Stoudemire, Jerome Dyson and Tarence Kinsey all dropped 11 points a piece. Alex Rosenberg was the high scorer for Kiryat Gat as the American scored 18 points in the loss.
Jerusalem was able to move the ball with ease, score at will and never allow Kiryat Gat a chance or thought of threatening the hosts all night long. Maor credited Pianigiani for his work preparing the team for the game and the players for implementing the game plan. Sometimes teams can become complacent when facing weaker teams or taking an 18 point lead into halftime, but that certainly wasn’t the case for Hapoel as they more than doubled their lead after twenty minutes.
Piangiani’s team can’t get overconfident as they have a home EuroCup game on Wednesday night against Nizhny Novgorod and will look to move to 2-0 in continental play in order to take another step towards the next round in the competition.
Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion 86-87 Hapoel Tel Aviv
Maalik Wayns last second three quarter court shot just fell short on the time clocks by a tenth of a second as Hapoel survived a very late scare in the road. Mark Lyons who was making his return the to Israeli league scorched Hapoel for 27 points while Alando Tucker dropped 20 points in the win. Wayns paced Rishon with 23 points and Charles Thomas picked up a double-double scoring 15 points and recording 10 rebounds.
Hapoel Holon 61-79 Nahariya
Nahariya visited Holon and came up with the surprise victory over Dan Shamir’s team. Five players featured in double digits for the victors with Gilbert Brown leading the way with 15 points while James Bell had 21 points in a losing effort for Holon.
Maccabi Haifa 99-65 Bnei Herzliya
The Greens came into this contest with a no holds barred attitude taking down the Karam Mashour-less Herzliya team. Eight players scored in double digits with Will Gravss scoring 14 of them. Adam Jackie scored 13 points in the losing effort.
Maccabi Ashdod 87-63 Hapoel Gilboa/Galil
Meir Tapiro’s team made quick work of Gilboa/Galil with a 24-point win. Jake Cohen continued his fine play with 20 points while Jackie Carmichael scored 16 points and picked up 11 rebounds. A banged up Gilboa/Galil revived a pair of 18 point performces by Eric Griffin and Michael Qualls.