Israel Basketball Gameday 16

Maccabi Tel Aviv 85-74 Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion
Maccabi Tel Aviv rolled from the start as they defeated Maccabi Rishon in a drama-free contest Monday night. Michael Roll set the tone knocking down three consecutive 3-pointers from the same spot on the right wing early in the 1st quarter. The former UCLA Bruin finished the game with 14 points and 6 rebounds. The player of the game though was Jake Cohen who came off the bench to score 19 points and had 9 boards and 2 steals to go with it. Maccabi Rishon was carried by Mark Tollefsen alongside his fellow starters Avi Ben Chimol and star Murphy Holloway. Tollefsen put up 14 points and 10 rebounds while Ben Chimol had 8 points and 9 assists. Holloway’s presence was too as he aggressively pounded his body into the defender’s chest every time he received the ball in the post. He scored 10 points to go with 8 rebounds in the contest. Rishon stuck around for most of the contest but they trailed for nearly the entire game and never was able to rally and put together a run to threaten the lead of Maccabi Tel Aviv. Maccabi Tel Aviv looks to carry this momentum into tomorrow night when they have a big Euroleague game against FC Barcelona.

Guy Goodes on game MVP Jake Cohen:
“After our last Euroleague game we realized that we wasted an opportunity to have Jake play especially after his excellent minutes in Haifa. He is a very positive person and I know him from when I coached Maccabi last time and he has matured and has come back a much better player. He practices so well and he always supports his teammates even if he isn’t playing. I am delighted with him and he is a role mode. We’re happy that he is improving as well as in the practices. All in all we know that we should have used him in the last Euroleague game and I hope that he will get his minutes in the upcoming contest.”

Jake Cohen on his MVP performance:
“Yeah, I was energized by my Eagles, Super Bowl champs. So I had plenty of energy thanks to them. I think was just in good rhythm again. My teammates are doing a really nice job of getting me the ball in really good spots and I feel like all I have to do is just finish. I’m not making any crazy moves out there or anything, I’m just flowing in the offense and getting good rhythm shots and when that happens you’re going to get good percentages so I’ve got to credit my teammates for that.”

The coaches say you deserve more minutes:
“Yeah, that’s obviously great to here. That’s what you want to do, you want to earn your keep so to speak and just be ready. So now that we got the win, I can focus on Thursday and I’m excited about it. I think Barcelona’s a really good team. They’ve had some tough times but their talent is still so, so high. We’re going to need to be really good and I’m excited for the game, it should be really fun.”

Named to the Israel National Team:
“That seems so far in the future. We have this Barcelona game and then the Cup so there are so many big games before I even start to think about that.”

Norris Cole spoke about the win:
“It’s always good to get a win, to protect your home court. Winning always feels good.”

About game MVP Jake Cohen:
“He has great touch, he can shoot the midrange, he can shoot the three. He also has post game. He has great effort, he’s a cerebral basketball player he thinks [about] the game and that’s what he brings. He’s definitely been bringing it these last two Israeli League games for sure.”

Assistant coach Guy Goodes handling the game in place of an ill Spahija:
“It was cool. Guy is really cool. He was really laid back, he challenged us and I think we responded well to the things he was telling us tonight.”

Hapoel Jerusalem 84-72 Hapoel Eilat
Hapoel Jerusalem defeated Hapoel Eilat in a game where neither team was in control for even a short period of the contest until the 4th quarter, when Jerusalem pulled away. At the end of the 3rd quarter, Jerusalem led by only 4 points but was able to extend that lead in the final quarter and win by a score of 84-72. Veteran guard Jerome Dyson had 16 points to go with 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals, but struggled from 3-point range shooting just 1-6. Ronald Roberts also contributed a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds in the victory for Jerusalem. The story for Hapoel Eilat was the debut of newly acquired Eric Griffin. Griffin had a productive 13 points and 8 rebounds in 25 minutes of action, offering some desperately needed help off the bench for Eilat. Leading all scorers was Jordan Loyd with 21 points, and Isaac Rosefelt was promoted to the starting lineup and put up a statline of 6 points and 6 boards. Eilat looks to bounce back in their next game against Bnei Herzliya and Jerusalem will continue to chase Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Holon as they face Ironi Nes Ziona next.

Hapoel Holon 81-74 Maccabi Haifa
Hapoel Unet Holon took care of business last night against Maccabi Haifa in a game where Unet Holon led for the duration of the contest. Glen Rice Jr. was the only player to score in double figures for Unet Holon as he dropped 32 points along with 10 boards, 4 assists, and 4 steals. Despite trailing the entire game, Maccabi Haifa was able to string together a late run in the 4th quarter to keep it close, but it was too-little-too-late and Unet Holon hung on for the victory. Leading the way for Haifa was Reginald Buckner along with benchmates Oz Blayzer and Angel Rodriguez. The 5’11” point guard Rodriguez, who recently finished his time at the University of Miami, scored 13 points and had 5 assists and Blayzer, who was born and raised in Israel, had 12 points and 7 rebounds for Haifa in their defeat. Maccabi Haifa’s struggles continue this season as they drop 4-12 and remain at the bottom of the standings. Unet Holon resides in 2nd place but they are gaining ground on Winner League leader Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Hapoel Tel Aviv 90-98 Bnei Herzliya
In a battle between teams on opposite sides of the standings, most expected a win for #4 ranked Hapoel Tel Aviv as they faced #9 Herzliya in their game 16 matchup. Fighting for a spot in the playoffs, Herzliya needed someone to step up on the offensive end to make up for their defense, which is currently ranked dead last in the league. And that’s exactly what they got. Jeff Adrien led a well rounded offensive attack, putting up 25 points and 11 boards on an efficient 9/14 from the field and 6/6 from the line. Brandon Triche (17 points), Aviram Zelekovits (12 points), and Dominique Archie (14 points off the bench) gave Herzliya the boost they needed in a must win game. For Tel Aviv, great performances from Jerel McNeal (25 points) and Adrian Banks (22 points off the bench) were overshadowed by the teams inability to hit free throws, shooting a subpar 11/20 for the game. With two teams that looked evenly matched in almost every statistical category, the difference in the game was free throw shooting. Tel Aviv missed 9 free throws, and lost the game by 8. This is something Coach Danny Franco will have to keep an eye out as they battle for higher positioning in this years playoffs.

Nes Ziona 81-84 Maccabi Ashdod
Fourth seeded Maccabi Ashdod beat 11th ranked Nes Ziona 84-81. After scoring only 6 points in the first quarter and 23 in the half, Nes Ziona used a huge second half to close the gap. Behind Khalif Wyatt’s 25 points (who was making his comeback after being out for a year due to injury) and Daequan Cook’s 21, the host’s outscored Ashdod 58-46 in the second half. While the comeback bid for Nes Ziona was strong, the starting unit for Ashdod willed their team to victory. Led by Sek Henry (25 points), Cameron Long (19 points), and Gerald Lee (13 points), Ashdod outscored their opponents starting five 67-46. While these teams have different approaches to getting their points, the difference in the game was the dominance on the glass Ashdod had throughout the night. By out rebounding their opposition 53-31, Ashdod were able to control the tempo and come out on top. They now look to improve their second half defense as they look to push their way higher up the standings, currently sitting 2 points back from #3 ranked Hapoel Jerusalem.

Ironi Nahariya 101-97 Hapoel Gilboa/Galil
In a battle between teams fighting for playoff position, #8 ranked Nahariya upset #6 ranked Gilboa Galil in a game that could have a drastic effect on playoff seeding. Down by 15 points at half, Galil used an incredible effort from their starting unit to attempt to make a comeback. 34 points from J’Covan Brown, 19 from Zach Leday, and 18 from D’Angelo Harris kept the game tight. However, a team scoring effort from Nahariya would win out in this game. While playing 9 players in the match, Nahariya had 5 who scored in the double-digits, led by Alex Young’s efficient 23 points. A mix between well-rounded scoring and a dominant rebounding advantage (39-25) helped Nahariya come out on top in this must win game. Now sitting only 1 point above #9 Hapoel Eilat, one game could be the difference between the playoffs or an early offseason.

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