A Victor Rudd basket with less than a second to play helped Maccabi Tel Aviv back on track in the BSL on Sunday, securing a dramatic 83-81 win over Maccabi Rishon Lezion at Yad Eliyahu Arena.
Rudd finished with a game high 25 points, including the winning back with 0.9 of a second remaining to ensure Maccabi improved to a 16-6 record in the BSL.
“I wanted the ball,” said Rudd, who has received added responsibility with top scorer Andrew Goudelock in the US, where he will undergo surgery on his ankle. “I felt like I couldn’t be stopped at that point in time.”
Devin Smith added 13 points for Tel Aviv, with Charles Thomas scoring 22 points for Rishon, which fell to 10-12.
Rishon took a three-point edge (25-22) into the second quarter and led by as many as 11 points (41-30) after Idan Zalmanson’s basket with four minutes to play in the first half.
But Maccabi closed within three points once more (43-40) by the break and capped a 21-2 run, which began following Zalmanson’s shot, to take an eight-point lead (51-43) in the third period.
The yellow-and-blue took a five-point edge (65-60) into the final 10 minutes and a dramatic finish would ensue.
Four straight points by Charles Thomas tied the score with 1:20 minutes remaining, and Rishon leveled the score yet again through a Maalik Wayns three-pointer with 6.8 seconds to go, but Rudd ensured the hosts had the last laugh.
Elsewhere Sunday, Maccabi Haifa moved back to .500 with its fourth win from the past five games, beating Hapoel Eilat 81-72. Eilat got off to the better start, leading 25-18 after 10 minutes. The visitors remained in front throughout the second quarter, but led by only three points (39-36) at the interval.
Haifa completed its comeback midway through the third period, but the game was wide open entering the final frame, with the Greens leading by three points (58-55). The teams were separated by only one point (63-62) ahead of the final five minutes, but Haifa would clinch the win with an 11-1 run (74-63).
Gregory Vargas scored 23 points, with Amit Simhon adding 21 points for Haifa, which improved to 11-11.
Landon Milbourne had 23 points to lead Eilat, which fell to 12-10 in league play.
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