Hapoel Jerusalem will have to wait at least one more week to secure its progress to the Eurocup last-16 after losing 96-93 at Budivelnik Kiev on Wednesday night, while Maccabi Haifa was thrashed 92-73 by Montepaschi Siena in Italy.
Jerusalem entered the encounter in Kiev with a 3-0 record in Last 32 Group M, winning its five previous Eurocup contests as well as its past 10 BSL games.
An 8-0 run late in the fourth quarter gave Jerusalem a four-point gap (91-87) entering the final minute, but a costly Bracey Wright turnover followed by an unsportsmanlike foul saw Kiev move back in front.
Derwin Kitchen then squandered an opportunity to secure Hapoel’s qualification with two games to spare, missing a jumper with four seconds to play.
Art Parakhouski led six Jerusalem players in double figures with 19 points, with Wright scoring 14 points and Kitchen and Ronald Dupree contributing 13 points each.
Dajuan Summers scored 21 points for Kiev (2-2).
Despite the defeat, Hapoel can console itself in the knowledge that it owns the tiebreaker against Kiev due to its four-point win over the Ukrainians at Malha Arena last week, which could prove to be crucial should both teams finish Group M with the same record.
Regardless, Jerusalem can secure a toptwo finish in the group and a place in the last-16 with a victory over Olimpija Ljubljana at Malha next week.
Haifa (2-2) crushed Siena (1-3) by 20 points last week, but managed just 29 points in the first half on Wednesday and never came closer than nine points in the second half after trailing 47-29 at the interval.
Moran Roth led Haifa with 18 points, while Brian Randle and Donta Smith scored 15 and 14 points, respectively, for the Greens, who visit CEZ Nymburk of the Czech Republic in another crucial game next week.
Matthew Janning had 34 points for Siena.
In Kiev, Hapoel could hardly miss in the first period, but led by just six points (31- 25) after 10 minutes despite hitting 13 of its 16 field-goal attempts. Jerusalem maintained a slender lead until the final minute of the first half, with Ricky Minard’s basket with 47 seconds to play handing the hosts the edge at the break (51-50).
There was nothing to separate the teams entering the final frame (73-73), but Kiev looked to be in control when Dainius Salenga gave it a four-point lead (87-83) with 3:18 remaining.
However, Jerusalem replied with an 8-0 run, with Josh Duncan’s free throws opening a four-point cushion (91-87) with 1:33 on the clock.
Hapoel seemed to be poised for its fourth straight win in the Last 32 when it had possession of the ball with 40 seconds to play while ahead by four points. But Wright lost the ball at the worse possible moment and added insult to injury by committing an unsportsmanlike foul on Janis Strelnieks. The Latvian guard hit both foul shots and Summers scored a three-pointer to move Kiev back into pole possession.
Wright put Hapoel ahead yet again with 15 seconds to go, but Darjus Lavrinovic was accurate from the free-throw line four seconds later and Jerusalem has still got work to do after Kitchen’s shot rimmed out.
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