Hapoel Jerusalem overwhelmed Maccabi Tel Aviv 98-87 in the Israeli Classico as J’Covan Brown and Shelvin Mack starred in the victory. The Reds hit their shots early and often as they went 9/10 from deep to jump out to a 39-27 lead after the first frame and never looked back to take the home win in dominating fashion.
Brown led the way with 22 points and 7 assists, Mack added 20 points, Tashawn Thomas chipped in with 19 points while Suleiman Braimoh notched 16 points in the win. Scottie Wilbekin was Maccabi’s high scorer with 20 points and Othello Hunter scored 13 points in the loss.
Othello Hunter scored in the paint for Maccabi while Shelvin Mack hit a triple for Jerusalem to get the Israeli Classico underway at the PAIS Arena. Jake Cohen and Scottie Wilbekin scored 3-pointers but Tashawn Thomas found the basket as well, however, Mack and Wilbekin traded shots from long distance as the yellow-and-blue took a 17-12 lead midway through the first quarter. Thomas put in another pair of points, Wilbekin hit a floater in the lane and Yovel Zoosman scored a corner three as the frantic pace continued. J’Covan Brown, Su Braimoh, James Feldeine and even center Idan Zalmanson drained triples as the Reds went an amazing 9/10 from beyond the arc to hold a 39-27 advantage after ten minutes.
Mack began the second quarter with yet another 3-pointer while Thomas did what he does best and scored from inside as Jerusalem bumped up their lead to 44-29 with 6:41 remaining in the first half. Thomas and Cohen exchanged baskets, Brown hit four straight free throws while Cohen answered for Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad but Jerusalem stayed out front 50-38 with 2:46 left in the frame. Braimoh hit an and-one over Zoosman, Zalmanson put in a layup and Brown hit a jumper as well as a triple from dead center as Oded Katash’s crew took a 61-41 lead at halftime.
Hunter and Deni Avdija notched the first baskets of the third quarter, Elijah Bryant added a triple but Nimrod Levi drilled one from deep to keep Jerusalem ahead 66-48 midway through the frame. Thomas continued his onslaught on the Maccabi basket with a pair of dunks, Braimoh and Mack hit free throws and Feldeine nailed a triple as Jerusalem went into the final frame up 82-60.
The fourth quarter got underway with a Thomas layup, Braimoh added one as well while Mack hit another 3-pointer to get the Reds off and running once again. Wilbekin scored a pair of triples and added a trio of free throws as Avdija scored from the outside also to help Maccabi cut the lead to 96-83 with 2:12 remaining in regulation time. Another driving layup by Avdija got the yellow-and-blue a bit closer but time was not on their side as Jerusalem closed out a 98-87 win.