Although it wasn’t pretty, a “win is a win”. Maccabi Haifa managed to squeak out their first victory of the season with a 74-73 win over Ashdod tonight (Saturday) at Romema Arena.
The Greens will now have a pleasant flight to the United States tomorrow night as they embark on their four team NBA tour against the Washington Wizards (Oct. 15), Portland Trail Blazers (Oct. 17), Sacramento Kings (Oct. 18), and the Toronto Raptors (Oct. 22).
“I am very happy that we won,” said Maccabi Bazan Haifa head coach Rami Hadar. “We should play better. We will travel to USA and I hope we will come back a better team.”
Haifa’s Jeff Allen had an all-around performance, recording a game-high 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field along with 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. Dagan Yivzori rebounded from last week with 14 points tonight on 5-of-12 shooting, along with 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals. The Greens’ defense recorded 18 steals and outrebounded Ashdod 41-37. Ashdod had five players in double-figures in the loss, led by forward Ivan Aska with 15 points and 7 rebounds.
Haifa’s offense seemed out of sorts in the first quarter with Allen carrying most of the load with 6 points. Haifa didn’t contain Ashdod’s Yehu Orland outside shooting as the visitors took a 18-14 lead at the end of the period.
Ashdod continued to pour it on from beyond the arc, opening the quarter on a 18-8 run to take a 36-22 advantage over Haifa. The Greens responded with a 11-0 run to close the quarter to whittle the deficit down to 36-33 in favor of Ashdod.
Haifa pushed the tempo in the third quarter as the Greens tied the game at 46-46 on a Brody Angley three-pointer. The Greens scored another bucket, followed by a steal, which led to a Dagan Yivzori three-pointer giving Haifa a 51-46 lead with just over two minutes remaining in the period. The Greens finished the quarter leading 56-50, outscoring Ashdod 23-14 in the period.
Ashdod scored the first six points to tie the game at 56-56, before Hector Hernandez nailed a three-pointer to give Haifa a 59-56 lead with just over 7 minutes remaining in regulation. Hernandez and Allen hurt Ashdod on the inside and Haifa’s pressure forced a turnover on a Angley steal and dish to Bar Even to go up 66-60 midway through the quarter. Bar-Even made a great putback layup and followed it with a great drive to the rack to put Haifa up 70-63 with two minutes left in the game. Ashdod’s Ivan Aska was fouled by Hernandez, completing a three-point play to cut the lead to 70-68 at the 1:41 mark. Ashdod’s Terrel Harris open look for three cut the Haifa lead to one point with a minute to go, but a Jeff Allen offensive rebound and putback gave the Greens a 74-71 advantage. After an Edwin Ubiles layup made it 74-73 with seconds left. Off an inbound play Jeff Allen was fouled, missing both free throws, which led to a mad scramble on the other end of the floor as Ashdod’s shot rimmed out. The Greens celebrated with a big sigh of relief, earning the 74-73 victory.