By Amy Samin
After being down by more than 20 points, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv made a valiant comeback in the second half that fell short, and the yellows suffered a painful loss at home to Hapoel Jerusalem, 89-82. Sylven Landesberg led Maccabi's scorers with 22 points, Trevor Mbakwe added 16 points and 8 rebounds, and Devin Smith contributed 13 points and 8 rebounds.
Starters for Maccabi were Itay Segev, Yogev Ohayon, Devin Smith, Jordan Farmar, and Trevor Mbakwe. Both teams looked hesitant at the start of the game, with the score standing at 3-3 after three minutes. Fischer and Duncan led Hapoel on a run that took the score to 20-8 with a minute and a half left in the period. Arinze Onuaku finally stopped the run with points from the foul line and a dunk at the buzzer, 23-12 to the reds.
Taylor Rochestie cut Maccabi's deficit to single digits as the second quarter got underway, but Jerusalem kept control of the game, cruising to 31-14 in a minute and a half. Mbakwe scored all of Maccabi's points in the paint and from the charity stripe in the next few minutes, but Jerusalem responded with four three pointers and took a twenty point lead, 43-23 halfway through the period. An unsportsmanlike foul by Dragan Bender only made things worse, and the teams went into the break with Jerusalem's lead at 51-29.
Ohayon and Mbakwe combined for six points at the start of the second half, but Jerusalem responded to make it 59-35. Farmar, Smith, and Landesberg scored and cut Hapoel's lead to 66-51 with two minutes left in the quarter. Segev added excellent defense, and an unsportsmanlike charge against Fischer meant points from the line by Landes and Rochestie that cut Maccabi's deficit to only 10, 66-56 heading into the final period.
Smith and Landesberg continued the momentum and cut Jerusalem's lead to single digits, 66-61 in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, until Timor scored for Hapoel to stop the run. Landesberg continued to be Maccabi's most effective player but ran into foul trouble with Jerusalem still holding a comfortable lead, 75-65 halfway through the period. Smith scored five straight to get Maccabi back in the game, but Jerusalem soon put their lead back into double digits. Farmar and Smith managed to close the gap to only 6, but it was too little too late, and Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv lost to Hapoel Jerusalem 89-82 in the third round of the Winner Sal League.