By Amy Samin
In week 12 of the Israeli Winner Sal League, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Holon 77-75 in a drama-filled game at Nokia Arena that went down to the wire. Ricky Hickman (17 points, 6 assists) was named MVP. Alex Tyus contributed 13 points and took 9 rebounds. Devin Smith added 12 points.
Starters for Maccabi were Yogev Ohayon, Guy Pnini, Ricky Hickman, Devin Smith and Sofo Schortsanitis. Maccabi jumped to an early 12-4 lead off points from Smith, Sofo, Hickman (from downtown twice) and Pnini. Midway through the period Holon narrowed the gap to 12-8, but Alex Tyus, Smith and Hickman rebuilt Maccabi's lead to 19-10. The visitors stepped up their defense but Smith delivered a reverse layup and Tyrese Rice a 1 and three when his second free throw popped out, Maccabi got the rebound, and Joe Ingles dished back to Rice on the right wing. The period ended with Maccabi leading 25-19.
Holon closed to within one point in the first minute of the second quarter, but a pull up jumper by Tyus and points by Sylven Landesberg gave Maccabi some breathing room, 29-24. Holon once again nearly eliminated the deficit, but Maccabi went on a 9-0 scoring run that included two dunks by Tyus (assists Ingles and Hickman), a triple by Pnini and a deuce from Ohayon that made it 41-30 with four minutes left in the period. Three pointers by Ingles and Rice closed out the half with Maccabi leading 48-34.
The visitors went on a scoring run early in the third quarter, cutting Maccabi's lead back down to single digits, 50-41. Points by Sofo and Hickman opened things back up, then the two teams had a duel from downtown, with Bowers exchanging triples with Smith and Hickman, 62-49 Maccabi. Jake Cohen battled his way to the basket and Hickman added another three but Holon continued to fight for every point, and the period ended with the score 67-56.
The final period got off to a slow start, and after four minutes the score was only 69-59. Holon made up for that with a run that put them within four, 72-68 with just over two and a half minutes left in the game. The visitors made it a two point game, but two clutch free throws by Hickman made it 75-71 with less than two minutes on the clock. A key rebound and two free throws by Tyus plus strong defense in the final, tension-filled seconds of the game, helped give Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv a 77-75 win over Hapoel Holon.