Maccabi Tel Aviv got by Hapoel Galil Elyon 71-68 as the yellow-and-blue kept their first place hopes and home court advantage throughout the playoffs alive and well with the victory up in the Galilee. Avi Even’s squad jumped out to a quick 26-18 first quarter lead as Scottie Wilbekin and Jake Cohen led the way but DJ Kennedy and Nimrod Levi tried to keep Barak Peleg’s team close as they featured five players in double digits. As the game neared it’s end and Maccabi was in front 69-68, Galil Elyon’s Karam Mashour missed an easy layup to hand the ball back to the visitors as they sealed the deal to take the win.
Wilbekin led the way for Maccabi with 16 points, James Nunnally added 13 points and Jake Cohen scored 11 points in the win. Kennedy paced the host’s with 16 points and Nimrod Levi chipped in with 12 points in the defeat.
“This wasn’t one of our good games,” Maccabi coach Avi Even said. “We weren’t sharp and focused enough while many things just didn’t go our way. We weren’t aggressive enough and we didn’t play correctly on offense.”
“Karam had been very good for us defensively and his miss wasn’t why we lost the game,” Peleg said. “The offensive rebounds killed us and we were a bit too stagnant on the attack. I understand our desire to win but most importantly right now is that we have to be calm ahead of the playoffs.”