Nes Ziona defeated Hapoel Haifa 93-80 as five players featured in double figures to pick up yet another Israeli league win. Elad Hasin’s squad jumped out to a 46-24 lead near the end of the second quarter thanks to strong play from DJ Cooper, Tyler Bey, Jerome Meyinsee and Shaq Buchanan. But Sharon Drucker’s team cut the lead all the way down to 56-55 in the third quarter as Kadeem Allen, Shawn Jones and Jalen Jones all scored. However, Bey and Golan Gutt scored at will over the course of the fourth quarter to take the 13-point victory.
Bey finished the game with 28 points, Meyinsee checked in with 16 points and 10 rebounds, Buchanan added 14 points while Cooper scored 13 points and dished out 17 assists in the win. Allen led the Carmel reds with 20 points while both Shawn Jones and Jalen Jones each scored 14 points each in the loss.
“We played a good team,” Hasin who coached against his former team said following the game. “Before the game it was nice seeing people I like very much. From the start of the game we wanted to win, I wish Haifa luck the rest of the way and to us I say congratulations to the players who all played well. Even when it was close we knew how to do the job.”
“When we put ourselves in such a hole I saw that we were not in a good spot,” Drucker began. “We made a nice comeback in the third quarter with some nice points, but then they were able to open the gap up again. We are a bit tired and we have more games coming up in Europe.”
Shaq Buchanan also spoke about the game that was, “It’s always great winning. Everyone is happy. We just had to get into the tempo of the game. Basketball is a game of runs and we figured it out.”
DJ Cooper orchestrated the Nes Ziona offense to perfection in the first quarter as he dished out assists for Golan Gutt’s pair of 3-pointers, Tyler Bey’s buckets and layups by CJ Williams and Shaq Buchanan, while Kadeem Allen and Shawn Jones responded for Hapoel Haifa but the hosts grabbed a 28-14 lead after ten minutes of action.
Buchanan began to heat up in the second quarter for Elad Hasin’s team while Tomer Levinson and Jerome Meyinsee also scored as Sharon Drucker’s squad tried to keep pace with points from Allen and Spencer Weisz but were still down 50-34 at halftime.
Shawn Jones and Jalen Jones started to help Haifa chip away at the lead to pull to within, 56-55 but baskets by Williams, Buchanan and Cooper with a pair of triples, a layup and free throws kept Nes Ziona in front 69-59 after thirty minutes of action.
Williams and Gutt began the fourth quarter with points, Amit Simhon and Anthony Hickey went from deep but Meyinsee and Bey with 13 points in the final frame put the finishing touches on the win.
Hapoel Beer Sheva defeated Hapoel Jerusalem 70-61 to pick up an important win in the southern capital. Lior Lubin’s Beer Sheva squad played tough basketball throughout the 40 minutes of play that sent the capital city reds to their second straight Israeli league loss. Greg Whittington led the way for the hosts with 21 points, David Efiyani added 16 points and Ben Moore grabbed 12 rebounds in the victory as Levi Randolph paced the visitors with 21 points in row loss.
“I felt that our defense would give us some confidence and with some pressure and desire we were able to take the win,” Beer Sheva coach Lior Lubin said. “To hold any team to under 65 points is the dream of any coach. We really wanted to win the game and the way you can do that is playing well on the defensive side.”
“Due to the way we played in the third quarter we didn’t deserve to win,” Jerusalem bench boss Aleksandar Dzikic explained. “We committed turnovers and missed layups, they ran in transition and they scored easily. We are a little bit smarter after this game and we know what players who won’t be in the rotation anymore.”
The game’s MVP Greg Whittington also spoke about the game, “We stayed to what coach was saying and we got to make sure we keep together and play hard. We know that if we can keep teams to 65 points we can win. We always have to come out like lions and we have to stick with that.”
Hapoel Galil Elyon used a superb second half to down Hapoel Holon 86-66 up north at Kfar Blum. The visitors took a 34-29 lead into halftime, but the hosts came out scoring at will with baskets by Deishuan Booker, Itay Moskovitz, Bryce Washington and Lotan Amsalem to take the second half by a 57-32 margin to cruise to the 20-point victory. Booker scored 22 points, took 7 rebounds and handed out 8 assists in an MVP performance, Moskovits continued his fine play with 18 points, Washington added 14 points and Amsalem chipped in with 13 points in the win. Erick Green paced Holon with 24 points and Chris Johnson added 13 points in the loss.
“I think that the players are fighters and know what to do,” Galil coach Barak Peleg said. “Aside from the big heart they bring to the table, the defensive focus was key to win this game. I believe in what we are doing here and to see the arena packed like this brings real pride.”
Deishuan Booker looked back at the win, “We were short handed so we had to be aggressive to get to the win. We got to a win after a bad stretch and it worked out as the calm Barak Peleg brings helps a lot. I’m happy we won and I’m not the focus in this game it’s important that we won as a team.”