Hapoel Jerusalem’s hopes of advancing to the Eurocup Last 16 suffered a
shattering blow at Malha Arena on Wednesday night with a humbling 86-69 defeat
to CEZ Nymburk of the Czech Republic.
Hapoel got its campaign off to the
worse possible start last week, losing 85-72 at BC Prienai of Lithuania and was
second best throughout Wednesday’s game against Nymburk.
The hosts got
off to an ideal start, with a Raviv Limonad basket opening a 9-2 lead. However,
Nymburk, coached by Israeli Neno Ginzburg, replied with an 11-0 run and remained
in the lead until the final buzzer.
Jerusalem trailed by just two points
(37-35) at the half, but the Czechs began the third quarter with a 7-0 run and
the Reds required a three-point play by Craig Smith to remain within striking
distance (62-55) with 10 minutes remaining.
However, Nymburk would put
the game to bed by outscoring Jerusalem 24-14 in the final frame and improved to
2-0 in Group A.
Smith had 23 points and eight rebounds for Hapoel, with
Jacob Pullen adding 14 points for Sharon Drucker’s men, which committed 19
“Clearly, we now find ourselves in a far from ideal situation,
but it isn’t over yet,” said forward Uri Kukia.
“We will have to win in
places we didn’t expect to win at.
“Nymburk is a very good team and they
proved it tonight.”
Vojtech Hruban led five Nymburk players in double-
figures with 19 points.
“We made the right defensive adjustments in the
second half and slowed down Smith,” Ginzburg said.
“We have a new team so
it is tough to tell at the moment how far we can go.”
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