After falling behind for much of the second half of the game, Maccabi Haifa had a chance to complete an improbable comeback after a Moran Roth three-pointer rimmed in to bring Haifa within 83-79 with less than 30 seconds. Haifa stole the ball and found its way to Dagan Yivzori’s hands, who missed a three-pointer that would have brought Haifa within one point. The Greens were eventually downed 85-79 to fall 1-2 in the series.
Adrian Henning, who tallied 9 points and 8 rebounds, came up big for Haifa late to give the Greens hope after knocking down a 3-pointer and a jumper to put Haifa down 79-76 with less than a minute left in regulation. Henning raced for a loose ball, and was called for a foul on Niv Berkovitz, even though Haifa had secured the ball, bringing the ball back to Eilat.
“We played really hard, but we didn’t play the smartest at times,” Henning said. “We had a lot of unforced turnovers, and with games like this, the margin of error is really small. Our backs are against the wall. For us, it’s win or go home.”
Haifa was led by the trio of Moran Roth who tallied a team-high 19 points and 9 assists, Ike Ofoegbu’s 17 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks, and Rene Rougeau, was again all over the court, with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocks.
“We came prepared to the game, but I think that our fouls problems forced changes,” said coach Rami Hadar. “We were short-handed today because of all the fouls and because we missed Will Graves.”
Six Eilat players scored in double-figures led by Bryan Asbury, who tallied a game-high 20 points.
The Greens opened the game completely different than their first game in Eilat, jumping out to a 20-11 at the end of the first quarter. Moran Roth was sharp, directing traffic with 6 points and Ike Ofoegbu tallied 5 points.
However, the second quarter was owned by Eilat, as they went on a 9-0 run to claim their first lead of the game, 32-31 with 2:45 in the half. Rene Rougeau had a chance to tie the game at the line, but made one of two. Afik Nissim made Haifa pay, burying a 3-pointer from the corner to take a 40-36 lead over Haifa going into the half. The Greens’ 13 turnovers in the first half burned them, allowing for Eilat to get back into the game.
The third quarter seemd as though Eilat would pull away as they pushed their advantage to the largest of the contest at 56-47. The Greens swayed the momentum of the quarter, as they ensued on a 16-7 run to knot the score at 63-63 on Rougeau’s layup right before the buzzer sounded.
The Greens grabbed a shortlived lead to begin the fourth quarter after an Alex Chubrevich tipin. Eilat’s Berkovitz three-pointer put Eilat back on top as they would hold the lead all the way to the final buzzer.
Haifa faces elimination on Thursday at Romema in game four of the best-of-five series.