Trevor Gaskins shines with 17 points in Haifa debut, Greens hold on for second straight win
After a hot-start by Maccabi Hunter Haifa, the Greens thwarted a Hapoel Tel Aviv comeback attempt. Maccabi (6-12) had the right answers in the final five minutes in an 82-77 victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv (9-9) on Sunday night at Romema. A stellar 17-point debut by new acquisition Trevor Gaskins, great shooting from long distance, and timely scoring down the stretch by Willy Workman, Angel Rodriguez and Zach Graham boosted Haifa to their second straight win.
Leading by as many as 22 points in the first half, the Greens nearly blew their lead in the final period as Hapoel Tel Aviv stormed back to cut the deficit to 71-70 with just under 4 minutes left in regulation. That’s when Workman — who just received a contract extension through the 2020-21 season — stepped up with the play of the game — converting on an And-One with an offensive rebound and put-back at the 3:29 mark in the fourth quarter.
Gaskins followed up with two important free throws to stretch the Maccabi lead back to 76-70. Hapoel’s Rafi Menco responded with a triple, but Rodriguez answered with a clutch 3-pointer. Gaskins netted another two from the charity stripe and Yivzori sealed the game, making one of two from the line, as Haifa earned their sixth win of the season.
“We pulled it out today with defense and focusing on us,” Gaskins said after the game.
The Greens registered five import players for the first time this season. The addition of Gaskins provided the spark Maccabi needed. And it didn’t hurt that Gaskins had played with teammates Zach Graham and Reggie Buckner at Ole Miss.
“Of course we have chemistry. We played three or four years together, it definitely helps,” added Gaskins.
Maccabi shot a season-high 50 percent (12-for-24) from three-point range, while holding Hapoel Tel Aviv to 29 percent from downtown. The Greens were paced by Gaskins’ 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting, followed by Rodriguez who tallied 14 points along with 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists. Zach Graham broke out of his shooting slump with 3-of-4 from beyond the arc to finish with 13 points and 5 rebounds.
Brandon Bowman was a beast on the boards, corralling a season-high 14 boards along with 10 points — his second double-double on the season. As usual, Workman was all over the stat sheet, recording 10 points, a career-high 4 steals, 5 assists and 4 rebounds. Dagan Yivzori added 9 points and Reggie Buckner and Roi Huber rounded out the Maccabi scorers with 5 points and 4 points respectively.
Without the injured Captain, Oz Blayzer, who was nursing a knee injury, the Greens ran out a new lineup against Hapoel Tel Aviv. The combination of Rodriguez, Huber, Graham, Workman and Buckner clicked from the opening tip. Huber got the Greens going with a wide-open triple. Haifa went on a 17-2 burst with great inside work from Buckner and stellar defense by Graham and Rodriguez, which led to fastbreak points on the other end of the floor. Maccabi finished their dominant first quarter leading 27-11.
The Greens maintained a comfortable 46-31 advantage going into the halftime break. In the third quarter, Hapoel Tel Aviv swayed the momentum, outscoring the Greens, 24-15, in the period to trim the Haifa lead to 61-55. In the final period, Maccabi was able to knock down the shots when it mattered most.
Maccabi Hunter Haifa have a quick turnaround as they host Hapoel Eilat this Friday afternoon at 13:30 at Romema Arena.