By Amy Samin
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv, with only nine players on their roster, suffered their second loss of the Israeli Lotto League season, falling 78 – 73 to Maccabi Ashdod at Nokia Arena. Team captain Tal Burstein led all scorers for Maccabi with 14 points; Lior Eliyahu added 13. On Thursday Maccabi faces Bennet Cantù in northern Italy in the third week of the Euroleague Top 16.
Coach Blatt’s starting lineup consisted of Tal Burstein, Demond Mallet, Richard Hendrix, Yogev Ohayon, and Lior Eliyahu. Maccabi started off strong and jumped to a 7 – 2 lead in the first minute and a half of the quarter off points from Hendrix and Eliyahu. Ashdod woke up and with three minutes left in the period had managed to take the lead, 16 – 15, mostly thanks to Josh Duncan. Ohayon added points on an inbounds give-and-go to return the lead to Maccabi, and Guy Pnini added a deuce and a trey to extend the lead. Mallet drained a shot from the top of the arc at the buzzer to end the quarter with Maccabi leading 31 – 27.
Less than a minute into the second quarter Ashdod had tied the score at 31. Once again Ohayon’s skills put Maccabi back on top, 37 – 33 three minutes into the period. The shots didn’t drop for Maccabi and Ashdod took advantage, tying the score at 40 with points from Duncan from the charity stripe (he was 9 of 10 from there on the night). Points by Meir Tapiro for the visitors ended the half with Ashdod in the lead, 46 – 43.
A three pointer by Duncan extended the visitors’ lead at the start of the third quarter, but five straight points by Burstein (assists Hendrix and Ohayon) made it a one point game, 49 – 48 two minutes into the period. Duncan and Ashdod continued to play well, taking a 58 – 51 lead with four minutes left in the period. Maccabi’s shooting trouble slowed them down, and the visitors were able to maintain their lead through the rest of the quarter, which ended with Ashdod up 64 – 56.
Points by Hendrix and Eliyahu in the early minutes of the fourth quarter were answered by Carter and Alex Tyus, and the visitors’ lead grew to double digits, 71 – 61 after three and a half minutes. Eliyahu scored off an assist from Jon Scheyer and David Blu added a three, as did Mallet, but Ashdod hung on to take the win, 78 – 73 over Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv. Maccabi remains at the top of the standings in the Israeli League with a record of 12 – 2.
Maccabi: Burstein 14 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals; Eliyahu 13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal; Ohayon 10 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals; Pnini 9 points, 3 assists, 1 rebound, 1 steal; Blu 9 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist; Hendrix 7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, ; Mallet 7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist; Schortsanitis 4 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist; Scheyer 2 rebounds, 1 assist.
Top scorers for Ashdod: Duncan 30 points.