Maccabi Haifa took advantage of Balkan absences to get revenge
14-01-2022 | 15:52Maccabi Next Urban Haifa recorded its third win in Group A of Delasport Balkan League. The Israeli team defeated Balkan 92-78 in a game played in Botevgrad but counted as a home contest for Maccabi. The Bulgarian team missed its four Americans but still put up a hard fight and was close to its opponent for the whole game. Maccabi though, after taking the lead at the end of the first half, controlled the difference after that. The Israelis now have 3-3 record and on Monday they'll finish their trip on the Balkans by visiting KK Navico Akademija FMP. As for the Botevgrad team - now they are with a 4-3 record and in their last game of Stage 1 will visit FMP on January 25th.
Maccabi scored the first 7 points and took the lead early in the game. Balkan managed to climb its way back slowly but steadily and not only closed the gap but also took a 3-point advantage at the end of the first quarter. In the first minutes of the second there were two big runs - one for each team. First it was Maccabi to score 10 points in a row and go up but The Greens from Botevgrad responded with 11-0 to take the lead back. Maccabi though responded once again and finished the quarter on a 13-2 run to be up by 7 points at the break.
With a 6-1 start of the second half, the Israelis managed to take a double-digit lead. They were holding on to it for some time but near the end of the third quarter Balkan again cut it to just 7. Shortly after the start of the fourth Maccabi once again took their advantage over 10 and held on until the end for the win.
The winners were led by Danel Koperberg who finished with game high 23 points. Kwame Vaughn added 19 and 7 assists as Glen Rice Jr. had 17 points and 6 rebounds.
The absences in Balkan gave a lot of playing time to the younger players and the performance of Iliyan Pishtikov was the most impressive as he finished with team high 19 points. Stanimir Marinov added 14 and 5 assists as Dimitar Dimitrov had 11 points and 6 rebounds.
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