Greens’ comeback attempt falls short after rallying from 14 points down in the second half
Maccabi Hunter Haifa gave Maccabi Tel Aviv everything they could handle on Sunday night at Romema Arena in front of nearly 3,500 fans. The Greens’ furious rally in the second half erased a 14-point deficit to take a 73-72 lead over the Yellows — capped by Willy Workman who converted on a 3-point play — midway through the fourth quarter.
The lead was short lived, though. Unfortunately, the Greens ran out of steam as Maccabi Tel Aviv answered with a 13-2 run to seal the game, 85-75. The defeat extended Haifa’s losing streak to seven (including the State Cup) as they fell to 4-11 on the season, and now find themselves tied with Herzliya at the bottom of the standings.
“We made some bad decisions on offense at the end, and we were soft on the offensive rebound,” said Offer Rahimi after the game. “We have to work on the team moral and to try and lift the players. I think that this team can be better and it’s my responsibility.”
Maccabi stood toe-to-toe with Tel Aviv to start the game, matching their output thanks to a fast start by Reggie Buckner as the Greens closed the first period tied with the Yellows at 23-23. Tel Aviv burst out with an 8-0 run to grab a 31-23 lead to start the second quarter. The Yellows stretched their advantage to 11 points, before a 3-pointer by Angel Rodriguez trimmed the deficit to 40-31. A triple by former NBA guard Norris Cole put the Greens in an 11-point hole, 47-36, at the half.
DiBartolomeo opened the third period with a trey to widen the Tel Aviv lead to 14 points. The Greens netted a pair of 3-pointers by Rodriguez and Zach Graham to whittle the gap to 52-46. Alex Tyus answered with four straight points in the paint to put Tel Aviv back up by double digits. Rodriguez answered a Deshaun Thomas 3-pointer with one of his own as Haifa closed the third period trailing, 67-58.
The Greens opened the final period with a bang on back-to-back 3-pointers by Israeli and Oz Blayzer to bring Haifa within 67-64. DiBartolomeo gave Tel Aviv a 5-point edge, but Rodriguez nailed another triple to bring Haifa within two points, 72-70. Workman capped the Haifa comeback attempt after converting on a fast-break three-point play to give Haifa a 73-72 lead. However, Jake Cohen answered with a bucket to reclaim a 74-73 lead for Tel Aviv as the Yellows never looked back. Despite, DeAndre Kane missing four shots from the line, Haifa couldn’t capitalize.
Maccabi was paced by Rodriguez who finished the night with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Reggie Buckner recorded a double-double on 14 points and 10 rebounds. Captain Oz Blayzer added 11 points and 5 rebounds.
Tel Aviv was led by Jake Cohen who dropped 17 points and 15 rebounds. John DiBartolomeo and Norris Cole scored 16 points apiece for the Yellows.
NEXT UP: Maccabi Hunter Haifa will hit the road as they take on Hapoel Holon on Saturday, February 3.
- Prior to the game, former Haifa MVP, John DiBartolomeo, was honored with a bouquet of flowers.
- Maccabi’s Guni Israeli was also honored for surpassing 1,000 career assists.