Maccabi Tel Aviv beat Hapoel Jerusalem 86-80 to win the Israeli Classico at Yad Eliyahu. The Reds controlled the first half but the yellow-and-blue used a strong second half to propel the club to the victory.
Scottie Wilbekin with 21 points and 10 assists and Amar’e Stoudemire with 17 points and 12 rebounds led the way for the Ioannis Sfairpoulos’s squad while Deni Avdija and Elijah Bryant each chipped in with 11 points a piece. Suleiman Braimoh was Jerusalem’s top scorer with 16 points, Jeremy Pargo added 13 points in his debut and James Feldeine chipped in with 12 points all of which came in the first half.
Maccabi went on the attack from the get go and took a 18-12 lead midway through the first quarter thanks to sharp shooting from outside with a pair of triples from Quincy Acy and four overall. But with the insertion of Jeremy Pargo who made his Jerusalem debut, the visitors rattled off a 15-3 run to close out the frame and take a 27-21 advantage after ten minutes of play.
Feldeine and Pargo continued their inspired play and helped Oded Katash’s squad to a 38-29 lead with 5:09 remaining in the first half. Scottie Wilbekin tried to keep Ioannis Sfairpoulos’s squad close but Suleiman Braimoh, Idan Zalmanson and John Holland kept up the scoring pace for Jerusalem as they went into halftime up 47-38.
Braimoh and Emanuel Terry helped Jerusalem increase the Reds lead but Wilbekin, Stoudemire and Deni Avdija ignited the yellow-and-blue offense to cut the advantage to 53-49 midway through the third quarter. The two teams played toe to toe for the bounce of the frame with as Jerusalem held a slim 3-point 64-61 lead after thirty minutes of action.
Jake Cohen and Elijah Bryant scored for Maccabi while Braimoh did the same for the Reds as time wound down in the fourth quarter. Stoudemire and Wilbekin found the bottom of the basket as did Pargo, but Bryant hit a couple of tough shots including a big triple to pull away with a 6-point win for Maccabi.