Maccabi Tel Aviv tops Hapoel Haifa 85-76

Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Haifa 85-76 to get the third round of games started off with a win. The Carmel Reds took the game right to the yellow-and-blue from the outset and took a 54-39 lead at halftime on the strength of guard Keenan Evans 19 points. However, Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad clamped down on defense allowing only 22 points over the final twenty minutes as Scottie Wilbekin took the bull by the horns to lead Maccabi to the victory.

Wilbekin led all scorers with 25 points, Elijah Bryant added 15 points and Ante Zizic chipped in with 14 points in the win. Evans scored 21 points to lead Haifa, Amit Simhon checked in with 13 points and Rakeem Buckles added 12 points in the defeat.

Keenan Evans – Photo Credit:

Hapoel Haifa came out with their guns blazing as Keenan Evans and Amit Simhon went from deep as Scottie Wilbekin kept Maccabi Tel Aviv close but down down 13-9 midway through the first quarter. Rakeem Buckles and Lennard Freeman got to work in the paint for the Carmel Reds, Elijah Bryant went from downtown and TJ Cline put in a pair of easy layups for the yellow-and-blue but Buckles and Evans kept Haifa in front 24-19 after ten minutes.

Amit Simhon – Photo Credit:

Chanan Colman scored from downtown, Jason Siggers added points while Freeman and Evans also found the basket while Cline drilled a triple as Haifa stayed in the lead 33-26 with 5:47 left in the second quarter. Wilbekin dialled up long distance and Bryant used the glass but Evans immediately answered with a 3-point play. Ante Zizic and Freeman traded baskets but Evans continued his tear with another and-one and nailed a triple at the halftime buzzer to send Elad Hasin’s squad into the break up 54-39.

Scottie Wilbekin – Photo Credit:

Wilbekin opened the third quarter with free throws and a triple as Ioannis Sfairpoulos’s team began to close the gap but Egor Nestrenko put in a jumper and Simhon went from beyond the arc as Haifa continued to lead 61-49 midway through the period. Zizic scored a layup, Bender dunked, Wilbekin drilled a pair of triples and Zizic scored inside to pull Maccabi to within 5-points, 65-60 after thirty minutes.

Scottie Wilbekin – Photo Credit:

Jones scored from the outside and the inside to begin the fourth quarter while Evans and Nestrenko did the same at the other end, Wilbekin put in a tear drop and Jones added a layup to pull Maccabi even at 71-71 with six minutes remaining in regulation. Dragan Bender put in a pair, Simhon matched him, Bryant added points under the basket but Siggers kept the game all tied up at 75-75 with 2:55 left. Omri Casspi put in a layup and made one of two from the line, Wilbkein hit a left handed floater and Bryant scored a deuce to help Maccabi come all the way back to take the 85-76 win.

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