Maccabi Haifa continued their winning way at RK Arena Tuesday night, holding on for a 66-62 win over Hapoel Holon in front of 1,800 fans. The Greens were led by forward Rene Rougeau, who broke out of a mini-slump with 14 points, 5 assists, and 5 steals. Alex Chubrevich was sharp with 11 points and 6 rebounds as well as 2 blocks, as his presence was felt on both ends of the floor. Holon’s Will Clyburn scored a game-high 24 points and snared 8 rebounds, but turned the ball over 7 times in the loss.
“A lot of respect to Holon, they played very tough,.” Rene Rougeau said. “I had the toughest mathchup, for sure, against Will Clyburn, and he definitely was a lot to handle tonight.”
Rougeau added the effect on the team having Will Graves back on the court,”He was a little anxious, in a little foul trouble, but he hit some big threes like he always does. It’s only a matter of time, before he’s fully back to 100 percent.
On playing Maccabi Tel Aviv next Sunday, Rougeau state, “Looking forward to it, we’re playing our old teammates. We’ve been licking our chops for this. I’m glad we got through this one first before we can talk about Maccabi…We’ve got use this as momentum going into Maccabi, looking to beat those guys.”
Maccabi finished the first quarter strong to jump out to a 25-16 advantage. The second quarter, however, the Greens couldn’t buy a basket as Holon climbed back to to whittle the lead down to 35-32 at the half. Will Graves recorded his first minutes of the season in the second quarter, chipping in 7 points in 10 minutes of playing, including 2-of-4 from beyond the arc.
The third quarter, the Greens widened their lead as Chanan Coleman helped them take a 11 point advantage. Reggie Buckner, in limited minutes, scored a few baskets in the paint as Haifa held a 49-43 lead at the end of the third quarter. Even in the fourth quarter Greens were unable to close the game with ease, as Clyburn took the game on himself to bring Holon with striking distance of pulling off a comeback, but the Greens Chanan Colman sealed the game at the free throw line in the closing minutes.
“I think that we left a lot of points on the foul line and with missed lay ups,” coach Rami Hadar said. “Overall it’s a victory and we’ll take it. We have a way to go on offense, but Holon had good defense tonight and they did a nice job closing on Vargas.”