Hapoel Jerusalem center Amar’e Stoudemire (right) is smothered by Hapoel Gilboa/Galil’s Eric Griffin during Gilboa’s 86-80 road win at the Jerusalem Arena last night in BSL action.
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Hapoel Jerusalem dropped to another disappointing defeat on Monday, losing 86-80 to Hapoel Gilboa/Galil in BSL action at the Jerusalem Arena for its third straight loss over all competitions.
After being knocked out in the Eurocup semifinals by Valencia, Jerusalem was trounced by Maccabi Rishon Lezion in league play last week and failed to get back on track against Gilboa.
The visitors led for much of the night, but held just a three-point advantage (63-60) with 10 minutes to play. There was nothing to separate the teams until Joachim Schuchman’s three-pointer with 44 seconds to play put Gilboa in front and led to a memorable win.
Murphy Holloway led Gilboa with 19 points, with Amar’s Stoudemire scoring 20 for Jerusalem, which fell to 13-12 after announcing the signing of Alessandro Gentile earlier in the day.
The 24-year-old Italian, who was once regarded as one of Europe’s top young players, is hoping to end a frustrating season on a sweet note.
After five seasons at Olimpia Milano, Gentile left the Italian side after falling out with its management, joining Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos in December.
He helped Panathinaikos to a cup triumph, but was released last month after averaging 3.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in nine Euroleague games.
Jerusalem’s Italian coach Simone Pianigiani goes a long way back with Gentile, guiding him at the Italian national team in recent years. Gentile averaged 16.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists at the last European Championships.
“We wanted Gentile and we got him,” said Pianigiani. “He is a top player and we know each other well. This is a big opportunity for us because the signing window closes in two weeks. He is an important addition, but is only one player.”
Earlier Sunday, Hapoel Eilat remained on track to finish in the top four and hold homecourt advantage in the best-offive quarterfinal playoffs, beating Maccabi Ashdod 90-69. Eilat won for the ninth time in 11 games to improve to 15-10, tied with Bnei Herzliya in third place and just two games back of leaders Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Holon.
Eilat was ahead by just six points (59-53) entering the final 10 minutes, but opened the fourth quarter with a 12-2 run and never looked back. Afik Nissim had 23 points for Eilat, with Chase Simon scoring 20 points for Ashdod, which fell to 9-16, but remains five games ahead of rock-bottom Maccabi Kiryat Gat.
Maccabi Haifa won for the sixth time in eight games, moving to 13-12 with an 88-71 victory against Maccabi Rishon Lezion. The game at Romema Arena was tied after the first and second quarters, but a 13-3 surge to end the third frame gave the hosts a double-digit cushion (65-55) they easily maintained until the final buzzer.
Oz Blayzer continued his breakthrough season for Haifa with 23 points and 13 rebounds, with Will Graves scoring 20 points. Avi Ben-Shimol and Idan Zalmanson had 14 points each for Rishon, which fell to 11-14, leaving the reigning champion one game back of Ironi Nahariya and the final ticket to the playoffs.