Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Gilboa Galil 86-64 as Darrun Hilliard starred for the hosts in the win. The yellow-and-blue got off to a red hot start as Hilliard went wild from beyond the arc as Oded Katash’s squad took a quick 43-27 lead at halftime. However, Tony Carr and Robert Franks helped Ariel Beit Halachmi’s team get right back into the game and cut the lead down to just two points. But John Dibartolomeo, Roman Sorkin and Wade Baldwin led Maccabi to a big final frame to seal the victory.
“We began the game really well and we defended properly,” Maccabi coach Oded Katash said. “We bumped up the lead to 15-20 points and then unfortunately we started to play for the result and we fell asleep. When that happened they came back into the game, but we were able to find our focus and energy and take the win.”
“This was a game that we wanted to get through and look ahead to what will be a game of the season for us coming up,” Beit Halachmi said. “The game was really over after the first quarter even though we did get close. There’s not much that I can take from this game other than we came out of the game without any injuries.”
Captain John Dibartolomeo looked back at how Maccabi allowed Gilboa to get back into the game and about the win as well, “We have understand the flow of the game and be more conscious of their runs. These things happen and it was a little too drastic but there were a lot of things we could have done to stop their rhythm but we were able to eventually respond.”
Hapoel Eilat sunk Hapoel Holon 102-91 Mangok Mathiang dominated both sides of the floor to send the Red Sea squad to their third win in a row. Maurizio Buscaglia’s team jumped out to 55-41 lead at halftime as Mangok and Austin Tilghman led the way, but Manny Harris, CJ Harris and Joe Ragland closed the gap for Guy Goodes’s side. However, Eric Griffin along with Mangok and Tilghman closed out the home victory.
Mathiang led the way with 22 points and 24 rebounds, Tilghman scored 25 points while Griffin added 23 points in the win. Manny Harris led all scorers with 28 points and CJ Harris chipped in with 21 points in the loss.
“We are happy with the win and it’s three in a row,” Eilat bench boss Buscaglia said. “We were on our home floor with energy and because we were solid this was a really good win. We have been focused recently and we have improved.”
“We have had a rough time with injuries and not many Israeli players,” Goodes explained after the game. “I knew that they would control the rebounds because of the players we had out and they deservedly won.”
The game MVP Mangok Mathiang spoke about his performance and the win, “We had to come out there and leave it all on the floor. My teammates got me the ball and we made the stops. But rebounding is what I do and this helped the team out on defense. The key was just getting stops and sticking together.”