Blayzer propels Maccabi to victory with career-high 29 points and 10 rebounds
Maccabi Hunter Haifa snapped a four-game losing streak with a convincing 95-74 victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv on Sunday night at Gan-Ner. The Greens took full advantage of playing Danny Franco’s shorthanded Hapoel Tel Aviv team in Gan-Ner — rather than in Tel Aviv — shooting a season-high 40.9 percent (9/22) from 3-point range, and distributed a season-high 17 dimes.
Oz Blayzer thrives playing at Gibloa/Galil’s arena. The Captain busted out of a slump, recording a double-double on a career-high 29 points (breaking his previous career-high of 27 points set in Gan Ner in Round 15 of last season) while snaring 10 rebounds. Brandon Bowman had 17 points and 7 rebounds off the bench, Angel Rodriguez notched 12 points (7/7 from the line), and Frederic Bourdillon added 11 points.
Hapoel Tel Aviv was paced by Jerel McNeal’s game-high 21 points and 6 rebounds, followed by Tomer Ginat and Adrian Banks who scored 13 points apiece in a losing effort. The Reds struggled playing with only three import players and without their injured captain Raviv Limonad. Maccabi’s defense forced 18 Hapoel turnovers on the evening.
Maccabi went with a new starting lineup of Rodriguez, Bourdillon, Martinez, Blayzer and Buckner. The Greens controlled the opening tip and Bourdillon knocked down a triple to give Haifa the first lead. Hapoel and Maccabi traded leads through the first half of the period. Buckner looked sharp in the paint scoring twice inside. Martinez and Rodriguez netted treys and Blayzer converted on a three-point play to put Haifa up 16-14. Rodriguez drew a foul on a 3-point attempt, making all three from the charity stripe to put Haifa up 23-18. Bowman gave Haifa a spark off the bench, getting to the line and dishing out a beautiful dime to a cutting Blayzer who finished with the flush. Haifa capped a 16-4 run at the end of the first frame to grab a 26-18 advantage over Hapoel.
Workman scored a triple at the buzzer and Bowman netted two from the stripe to extend Haifa’s lead to double-digits at 31-21 to begin the second quarter. Rodriguez did an excellent job of drawing fouls, making his next four shots from the charity stripe to put Haifa up 36-23. The Reds managed a 9-2 run to trim the Haifa lead down to 38-32. Blayzer, Workman and Bourdillon got the Greens going again as Maccabi took an 8-point edge, 49-41, into the break.
Blayzer caught fire in the third quarter scoring 6 straight points as the Greens widened their lead to 59-46. Blayzer tallied a total of 9 points in the third, while Workman and Bowman continued to build upon Haifa’s lead. Bowman made a tip-in at the buzzer to put Haifa up 77-54 at the end of the third quarter. The Greens outscored Hapoel 28-13 in the third frame — arguably Haifa’s best quarter of the season.
Blayzer stayed hot in the fourth with 7 more points to finish the night with a new career-high 29 points. Maccabi traded buckets with the Reds as they cruised to the 95-74 victory, the team’s second on the season.
The Greens wrap up their three-game road trip at Hapoel Eilat on December 4.
Offer Rahimi on tonight’s performance: “I didn’t feel like it was easy today. I think the players came to fight and I felt they were playing for me on the court. We started the season very poorly and I take responsibility for it. I want the team to earn wins, that’s all.”
on Oz Blayzer’s career night: “Oz is a pro, who felt that the team needs him and he just came to get the job done.”
Oz Blayzer on tonight’s win: “I started the season not so well, and I knew that I had to bring energy on defense. Offer and Tomer tell me that all the time and that’s what I did today. The explosion came and I am very happy it helped us win the game. We didn’t start the season well, we’ve lost focus during game, but it didn’t happen tonight and I hope it will push us forward.”