By Amy Samin
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv preserved their first place standing in the Israeli Winner Sal League, with an 83-73 away win over Maccabi Rishon Lezion, thanks in part to a fantastic third quarter (26-6). Alex Tyus led Maccabi's scorers with a huge double double -18 points and 14 rebounds. Devin Smith scored 17 points, and Tyrese Rice added 13 points and 5 assists. Sylven Landesberg contributed 9 points and David Blu scored 8 points.
Starters for Maccabi were Sofo Schortsanitis, Ricky Hickman, Devin Smith, Guy Pnini and Sylven Landesberg. Rishon dominated the early minutes of the first quarter, taking a 14-6 lead after four minutes of action. Hickman, Smith and David Blu from outside the arc (assist Tyrese Rice) narrowed the gap to one, 14-13, but the home team responded. Excellent minutes from Alex Tyus flipped the score, giving Maccabi a 25-19 lead as the period ended.
Despite more points by Tyus at the start of the second quarter, Rishon, thanks largely to Jake Cohen, put together a string of buckets that put them back in the lead, 32-29 halfway through the period. Rice and Smith scored for Maccabi as the lead seesawed back and forth, until another scoring run by Rishon gave them a double digit lead going into the break, 46-36.
Free throws by Tyus and five straight points by Smith put Maccabi within two early in the third quarter. The hosts scored once, but Maccabi was on fire, with points in the paint from Tyus, Hickman and Sofo and a three by Blu giving Maccabi a 53-48 lead with three minutes left in the period. Meanwhile, the defense shut down Rishon completely, allowing them only six points the entire quarter. Points by Landesberg and a three by Pnini ended the period with Maccabi up by ten, 62-52.
The fourth quarter opened with a trey by Joe Ingles in the right corner and a dazzling play involving Rice to Landesberg to Pnini, who delivered a behind the back dish to Landesberg for the bucket in the fast break. Rishon made attempts to get back into the game, but with four minutes left in the game Maccabi's lead had grown to twelve, 74-62. Cohen single-handedly cut that to seven, but Rice quickly remedied that with two straight drives in the paint. The hosts made another brief run as the clock wound down, but a fadeaway jumper by Hickman and a three by Smith sealed the deal, and Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv defeated Maccabi Rishon Lezion 83-73.