By Amy Samin
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv is one step closer to locking up first place in the Israeli Winner Sal League following their 86-74 defeat of Ironi Nes Ziona at Menora Mivtachim Arena. Devin Smith was outstanding with a double double of 19 points and 12 rebounds. Jeremy Pargo added 17 points and 9 assists, and Jake Cohen contributed 15 points and 9 rebounds.
Devin Smith, Jeremy Pargo, Nate Linhart, Jake Cohen, and Yogev Ohayon were Maccabi's starters. Points by Linhart, Cohen, Pargo, and Smith put Maccabi up 8-2 in the first two minutes, but the visitors came back to tie the score at 10. A pair of triples from Cohen and Smith put the yellows back on top, Linhart added a nice dunk, and points from Ohayon ended the period with the home team holding a 24-20 lead.
Linhart from downtown and Sylven Landesberg with a steal/layup extended Maccabi's lead early in the second quarter. Nes Ziona responded, making it 31-27 after three minutes of action. The hosts quickly remedied the situation, with Smith, Pargo, and Cohen combining to increase Maccabi's lead to double figures, 39-29 with three and a half minutes left in the period. Nes Ziona responded, but points in the paint by Pargo and Landesberg wrapped up the half with Maccabi leading 47-40.
Neither team could find the bottom of the net as the second half got underway, which benefited Nes Ziona who gradually cut their deficit to 51-46 halfway through the third quarter. Four straight by Joe Alexander stopped the visitors' run, and another layup by Pargo put Maccabi's lead back at ten, 57-47. Landesberg added a trey from the right wing, and a Pargo/Alexander oop ended the period with Maccabi up 63-52.
Nes Ziona worked to get back in the game, making it 67-63 four minutes into the final quarter, but treys by Pargo and Smith, along with points by Landesberg and Ohayon, put Maccabi's lead over ten once more, 79-67 with three and a half minutes left in the game. This time the visitors couldn't muster a comeback, and in the end Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv won the game, 86-74.