Hapoel Holon forward Glen Rice Jr. .
(photo credit: UDI ZITIAT)
Two accurate free throws by Tamir Blatt with 4.3 seconds to play gave Hapoel Holon a nail-biting 100-98 win over Maccabi Rishon Lezion in the quarterfinals of the State Cup on Saturday night.
Avi Ben-Shimol tied the score for Rishon with a three-pointer before Corey Walden was fouled at the other. However, the American guard couldn’t attempt the free throws as he was bleeding from his fall.
Blatt entered the game in his place, and after going scoreless until the stage, sunk the two most important points of the night.
Glen Rice Jr. led Holon with 33 points, with Tu Holloway scoring 16 points in his return from injury.
Ben-Shimol and Yaniv Solomon had 20 points each for Rishon.
Maccabi Ashdod was the first team to progress to the last four, thrashing Hapoel Eilat 89-56 earlier Saturday.
Cameron Long led five Ashdod players in double figures with 16 points, while Jordan Lloyd had 14 points for Eilat.
Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem will be the favorites to secure the two remaining semifinal berths on Sunday.
Maccabi visits Hapoel in the Tel Aviv derby, while Jerusalem looks to avoid an upset at the lone remaining National League team in the draw, Hapoel Beersheba.
Maccabi Tel Aviv, which has won the cup eight years in a row, aims to bounce back from its disappointing Euroleague defeat to Unicaja Malaga on Thursday. Maccabi fell to 8-7 in continental play after squandering a 14-point lead and losing 89-78, but is 13-1 over local action so far this season.
Hapoel, which has a 5-5 record in BSL play, was outraged that the game was scheduled for Sunday, believing Maccabi used its influence with broadcaster Sport5 to postpone the game by 24 hours to allow it more time to prepare.
Hapoel said it was originally promised by the Israel Basketball Association that should it qualify for the quarterfinals its game would take place on Saturday, with Hapoel and Maccabi to meet again in BSL action at Yad Eliyahu Arena on Tuesday.
Jerusalem can finally put its disastrous Eurocup campaign behind it after suffering another heavy defeat at Galatasaray last week to complete the regular season with a 2-8 record.
Jerusalem hasn’t won the cup since 2008, losing to Maccabi Tel Aviv in the final in two of the past three years.