Maccabi Tel Aviv dismantled Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 105-77 thanks to a superb second half where the Yellow & Blue outscored the visitor’s 58-32. Jeremy Pargo scored 19 points, Yovel Zoosman dropped 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for his first career double double while Johnny O’Bryant chipped in with 15 points and 8 boards. Ian Miller scored 18 points and Tal Karplesz added 18 points for Gilboa/Galil in their 8th defeat in a row.
Ariel Beit Halachmi’s Gilboa/Galil squad got out to a good start at Yad Eliyahu taking 25-24 lead after ten minutes as they looked to win on Maccabi’s home court once again to continue a streak that began in 2015. Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s side used ten points each from Pargo, O’Bryant and Tarik Black to take a 47-45 lead at halftime while Miller and Durand Scott who just signed with Gilboa/Galil visitor’s kept the game close with 15 and 12 points respectively.
However, Maccabi went on a 16-0 run in the third quarter as Pargo drilled home three triples to take a 75-61 lead after thirty minutes while Zoosman and Caloiaro closed out the 28 point victory in the final frame to remain perfect at home.
1) Yovel Zoosman was terrific in 34 minutes for Maccabi as the youngster was active all over the floor. He of course was very modest after the game as he always is even though the coach had high praise for #50, “Zoos is my guy, what else can I say. I’m very happy for him, he has to continue. I don’t care how many points he’s going to score as he has to understand his role is positive for the team. For him to be positive he has to play good defense and participate in the whole game. Rebounding both defensively and offensively, scoring layups or deflecting the ball, all that he does is helpful for the team. I don’t want him to misunderstand his role and start to think he has to score a lot of points. He can score a lot of points but he needs to start always with the fundamentals which is not always scoring. He’s an all-around player and he’s playing well on both ends of the court. In response Zoos answered following the game, “We weren’t there in the first and second quarters but we played well in the second half defensively as aggressively. I really like the head coach and the assistant coach. He gave me a hug after the win over Panathinaikos. We have a very good relationship and I hope that it will continue that way.”
2) Jeremy Pargo looks like he’s getting into game shape. With 19 points and five 3-pointers his return is just what the doctor ordered. He’s certainly happy to be back after spending the last few months on the sidelines. With Pargo available to coach Sfairopoulos, is the sky the limit for Maccabi? I remember sitting in the hallway of the OAKA Arena in Athens before Maccabi opened their Euroleague season on the road at Panathinaikos when Pargo came out limping and holding his back. With the doctor accompanying him it was clear that it was bad news for Maccabi. And it certainly was as Pargo was unavailable for close to two-thirds of the continental campaign. But now he’s back and he’s focused on one goal, to help get the Yellow & Blue into the top 8.
3) Ariel Beit HaLachmi was not a happy camper after the game and who could blame him, as his team although competitive in the first half was a disaster zone over the last twenty minutes. Beit HaLachmi was angry and rightfully so. The coach who led the Under-20 Israel squad to the European Championships knows his team could be doing a lot more, Is there a reason why the rebound battle ended 51-22 in their favor? This isn’t basketball, this is desire, fight and to honor your workplace and right now we aren’t doing that. This has nothing to do with who is playing and who isn’t. Our last loss here was three years ago in the Cup when we missed a last second layup, this has to stop.”
Maccabi has a game at Ashdod Monday and then a trip to Baskonia against a team that is coming off a road loss to Darüşşafaka, the worst team in the league. One of the Yellow & Blue’s stars of late in continental play has no doubt been Johnny O’Bryant. The forward offers a number of different attributes to Maccabi and can help the team in various ways. O’Bryant talked about his European adventure to date and if getting back to the NBA is the ultimate goal down the road, “I didn’t know what to expect. I knew it was going to be a big change and it’s still overall a good level of competition. My teammates have done a good job and coach as well helping me adjust and Tel Aviv is a great city as well. It’s been cool so far, no complaints. Right now I’m taking it day by day while I’m here and the NBA will take care of itself.”