Brandon Bowman’s 30 points & buzzer-beater triple to send the game into overtime scored Haifa the victory in their home opener
Maccabi Hunter Haifa erased last week’s disappointing loss with an instant classic 89-85 overtime win over Ness Ziona on Monday night at Romema. The Greens were locked in a back-and-forth battle with Ness Ziona with neither team able to pull away. Ness Ziona’s Golan Gutt nailed a dagger trey to put the visitors up 74-71 with 1.2 seconds left in regulation in what seemed to be the game-winner. However, Maccabi’s Brandon Bowman had other plans.
After a called timeout, Bowman inbounded the ball and threw up a desperation 3-point bank shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. In the extra period, Haifa held on for a dramatic victory, eventually icing the game at the free throw line.
Bowman dropped a game-high 30 points — tying an Israeli League career-high — on 9-of-16 shooting while drawing 10 fouls. Angel Rodriguez tallied 20 points, 7 assists and 4 steals, while Willy Workman had a phenomenal stat line on 15 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals. Captain Oz Blayzer picked it up late in the game, finishing with 10 points while snaring 6 caroms. Frederic Bourdillon notched 9 points and Daniel Koperberg corralled 6 rebounds and chipped in two points in 14 minutes.
Ironi Ness Ziona (1-2) was paced by Jaron Johnson who registered 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting and former Haifa center Elishay Kadir notched a double-double on 14 points and 11 rebounds. Gutt also added 14 points on 4-of-8 from downtown.
The Greens forced Ness Ziona to turn the ball over 27 times while limiting their own turnovers to 15 on the evening.
“I know that I was one of the keys today, but it could be another player each night,” said Bowman. “There are a few things that helped us today, but defense was the key. We made some important stops at the right time. We have to keep it up and work on rebounding.”
Maccabi tweaked their starting five in the second game of the season, going with Rodriguez, Boudrillon, Workman, Blayzer and Bowman. After falling behind 15-10, Workman, Koperberg and Huber helped give Haifa a 17-16 advantage. Maccabi finished the first frame knotted at 19-19 with Ness Ziona.
To start the second period, Ness Ziona came out on fire from downtown, scoring 9 points within a minute and a half to go up 28-19. Haifa trailed by as many as 11, but a great drive to the rim by Rodriguez helped tighten the score as Haifa closed the first half strong, trailing only 42-37 to Ness Ziona.
Maccabi’s defense clamped down in the third quarter holding Ness Ziona to 13 points. Bowman caught fire — scoring Maccabi’s first seven points of the third frame as Haifa capped an amazing 21-1 run after a Workman bucket to pull ahead 52-43 midway through the period. A triple by Workman kept Haifa up by 8 points and Bowman scored before the end of the frame to give Haifa a 61-55 lead.
The final 10 minutes of regulation remained tight as Ness Ziona pulled ahead by four points, 65-61, thanks to Gutt. Bowman notched one of two from the charity stripe and a triple by Blayzer knotted the score at 65-65 at the 4:18 mark. Ness Ziona, once again, pulled ahead by five points as Gutt nailed a 3-pointer with 3:15 left in regulation. The Greens were able to chip away at Ness Ziona’s lead by getting to the line. Angel scored one of two from the foul line to put Haifa up by one, 71-70, with 1:14 on the clock. Kadir knotted the game at 71-71, and an offensive foul on a moving screen by Bowman allowed Ness Ziona’s Gutt to knock down a 3-pointer on the other end with one second left on the clock.
Bowman certainly made up for it with a heroic buzzer-beater from way downtown to send the game into OT tied at 74-74.
Rodriguez nailed a 3-pointer to start the extra period, which was answered by a 3-pointer by Ness Ziona’s Gary Browne Ramirez. Another 3-pointer by Rodriguez and a bucket by Bourdillon as well as two from the line by Bowman put Haifa up by six points, 86-80. Ness Ziona trimmed the lead to one, 86-85, but Rodriguez finished the game at the line as Haifa came away with the 89-85 victory.
Maccabi will host Rishon Lezion on Friday, October 27 at Romema at 2:30 pm.