Smith leads Maccabi Haifa to big home win
Maccabi Haifa Bazan moved up to 2-1 in difficult Last 32 Group K by thrashing Montepaschi Siena 86-66 at home on Wednesday. Haifa now ranks second at 2-1 while Montepaschi dropped to 0-3 and will most likely need to win all of its remaining games in order to have chances to advance to the elimination rounds. Donta Smith did not miss a shot (9-of-9 two-pointers, 1-of-1 three-pointers, 3-of-3 free throws) on his way to 24 points, adding 6 rebounds and 6 assists to lead the winners. Moran Roth added 21 points, Brian Randle had 16 while Ike Ofoegbu got 10 for Haifa. Othello Hunter led Montepaschi with 17 points while MarQuez Haynes added 11. Roth and Randle allowed Haifa to get an early 14-7 lead but five different Montepaschi players score late in the first quarter to bring the guests within 19-17 after 10 minutes. Spencer Nelson, Hunter and a late basket by Mattia Udom gave Montepaschi a 34-38 edge at halftime. An 8-0 run which Smith capped with a three-point play put the hosts ahead for good, 42-38. Haifa boosted its margin to 61-47 after 30 minutes and then again to 75-54 midway through the fourth quarter, enough to keep control of the game until the final buzzer.
Randle got Haifa going with a layup and a three-pointer by Josh Carter gave Montepaschi its first lead, 2-3. Hunter matched Ido Kozikaro's layup with free throws but Roth put the hosts back ahead, 7-5. Hunter scored again but Smith and Roth fueled a 7-0 run for a 14-7 Haifa edge. Erick Green and Hunter tried to change things for the guests and a layup by Haynes brought Montepaschi within 17-13. David Cournooh and Benjamin Ortner got the guests as close as 19-17 after 10 minutes. Green hit a jumper early in the second quarter and a three-pointer by Tomas Ress put Montepaschi back ahead, 19-22. Ofoegbu made free throws and Roth scored again but Ortner and Nelson kept Montepaschi ahead, 25-28. Dagan Yivzori and Smith sank free throws but a jumper by Hunter and a triple by Jeff Viggiano boosted the guests' lead to 28-33. Smith scored again but Hunter did better with a three-pointer. Randle dunked and fed Smith for a layup but a put-back basket by Udom gave Montepaschi a 34-38 lead at halftime.
Smith and Ofoegbu had respective layup-plus-fouls in an 8-0 run which Haifa the lead for good, 42-38, right after the break. Haynes followed a triple with a layup but Smith and Roth stepped up to boost the hosts' lead to 51-43. Back-to-back baskets by Randle soon made it a double-digit game, 55-43. Cournooh hit a jumper and Hunter added a put-back basket but Ben Reis and Ofoegbu boosted Haifa's margin to 61-47 at the end of the third quarter. Smith sank a jumper early in the fourth quarter and Yivzori bettered Haynes's layup with a three-pointer to seal the outcome, 66-49. Both teams kept fighting for points differential. Roth scored again and erased Carter's layup-plus-foul with a three-pointer. Haynes hit a jumper but Smith and Ofoegbu soon made it a 21-point game, 75-54, with over 4 minutes left. Hunter and Cournooh kept trying but Roth, Smith and an outstanding Randle led Haifa to a very important home win.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014