J’lem routs Hap TA for sweet revenge
By ALLON SINAI
Hapoel J’lem wins 98-83 on the road while Eilat climbs to second after Haifa loss.
Hapoel Jerusalem returned to winning ways in convincing fashion on Sunday night,
thrashing Hapoel Tel Aviv 98- 83 on the road.
Despite hosting the
showdown in Ashdod after being sentenced to play the game away from its home
arena in Rishon Lezion due to the unruliness of its fans, Tel Aviv got off to
the better start, leading 29-20 after ending the first period with an 8-0
However, a 10-0 Jerusalem surge ensured the game was tied (45-45) at
the break and Tel Aviv ran out of steam in the second half, dropping to its
fourth straight defeat and sixth in seven games.
Josh Duncan led six
Jerusalem players in double-figures with 22 points, with Courtney Fells scoring
21 for Sharon Drucker’s side, which clinched the win thanks to a 12-3 run to
start the fourth frame.
“This was a big game for us,” said Duncan after
Jerusalem avenged its first-round loss to Tel Aviv. “Last time they beat us
pretty bad. It took everything we had to claim the victory. We told each other
at halftime to stay aggressive and don’t hang our heads and we played
Demontez Stitt had 24 points for the floundering Tel Aviv, with
new American guard Jermaine Taylor scoring 17 points on his debut.
Eilat took sole possession of second place on Sunday, beating Maccabi Rishon
Lezion 80-74 to improve to 9-4 and make the most of Maccabi Haifa’s 91-74
humbling at the hands of Hapoel Gilboa/Galil.
Eilat seemed to be cruising
to the win when it opened a 14-point gap (67-53) early in the fourth quarter,
but a 15-3 run by Rishon brought the visitors within just two points
However, Rishon could not complete the comeback and dropped to
its first defeat under new coach Roni Bosani.
Scotty Hopson led Eilat
with 20 points and six boards, with Afik Nissim netting 16 points.
Warren scored 23 for Rishon, which fell to 6-7.
Gilboa/Galil climbed off
the bottom of the standings on Sunday with a surprisingly straightforward
victory over Haifa.
Gilboa opened a 12-point gap (46-34) by the break in
Gan Ner and maintained a double-digit cushion throughout the second half to
improve to 4-9.
Dagan Yavzuri was red-hot for Gilboa, scoring 30 points,
including 7-of-12 shots from three-point range, while also registering seven
Kenny Hayes added 17 points for the hosts, with Donta Smith
scoring 21 points for Haifa, which fell to 8-5.
On Monday, Maccabi Tel
Aviv hosts Ironi Asheklon, while Bnei Herzliya visits Barak
Hapoel Holon, which visits Paris Levallois in its EuroChallenge
Last 16 Group J opener on Tuesday, came back from a 20-point second half deficit
to defeat Maccabi Ashdod 107-103 in overtime on Saturday.