Maccabi Haifa had their chances against Maccabi Tel Aviv tonight in front of a packed Romema Arena, but fell short down the stretch, falling 80-65. The Greens Jeff Allen tallied a double-double with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 steals, but his efforts were not enough as former Haifa player Sylven Landesberg burned the Greens for 31 points on 11-of-15 from the field. The Yellows from Tel Aviv controlled the glass, outrebounding the Greens 46-34. Rene Rougeau tallied 16 points on the evening for Haifa and Alex Chubrevich pulled down 9 rebounds, but Tel Aviv’s Devin Smith recorded 16 rebounds, along with 13 points.
“I was at peace with our game for the first three quarters, except for the fourth the last one,” said Rami Hadar. “Today we felt how important Ike Ofoegbu is on this team and his fifth foul placed put us in a problematic position.”
“I think that the small things counts, we just couldn’t put the balls in and we should have concentrated more on their offensive rebounds, a thing that we talked about before the game,” said Tomer Bar-Even.
Maccabi Tel Aviv opened the game with an 8-2 after three minutes of play. Alex Chubrevich was the Greens go-to-guy early and Allen came off the bench with several nice shots. At the end of the quarter, it was Smith with a bucket that put Tel Aviv up 20-18. The second quarter was also tight with Landesberg in the Yellow side and Yivzori on the Green side were the players with the hot hands as Haifa trailed 40-37 at halftime.
In t the third quarter the Greens were hurt when Ike Ofoegbu was called for his fifth foul. The Yellows took the lead and a 3-pointer by the Green’s Captain reduced the gap, but again it was Sylvan Landsberg with another 2 pointer that put Tel Aviv up, 57-51. In the fourth quarter the the defending champs ran with Landesberg and Smith as Haifa were downed 80-65.