Hapoel Jerusalem and Maccabi Haifa advanced to the Eurocup Last 32 from the
runners-up position on Wednesday night, but did so in almost opposite
Jerusalem claimed an impressive 79-75 victory over Karsiyaka
Izmir at Malha Arena in a direct showdown for second place in Group E. Hapoel
recorded its third win in its past four Eurocup games to finish the regular
season with a 6-4 record.
Haifa, on the other hand, stumbled over the
finish line, losing 75-70 to Kalev Tallinn at home to end Group G in second
place at 6-4 despite dropping its final two regular season
Fortunately for Haifa, VEF Riga came to its rescue, beating
Banvit Bandirma of Turkey 91-77 to ensure the Greens remained in the runners-up
position behind the perfect Unics Kazan.
Haifa, which was playing without
the injured Moran Roth and Brian Randle on Wednesday, has also lost three of its
past four BSL games and will be hoping to bounce back when it hosts Jerusalem in
league action on Friday in an encounter postponed from Sunday due to the stormy
Jerusalem, which has won seven of its past eight BSL contests,
will be brimming with confidence after the triumph over Karsiyaka.
a tight first half ended in a fivepoint (40-35) Hapoel lead, the hosts pulled
ahead late in the third quarter, opening a nine-point gap (61-52) ahead of the
final 10 minutes.
However, Izmir would begin the fourth frame with a 12-2
run, capped by a Leo Lyons three-pointer, to move into the lead (64-63). A nervy
finish would ensue, but Hapoel would hold on for the win thanks to clutch
baskets from Lior Eliyahu and Derwin Kitchen.
Ronald Dupree led five
Hapoel players in double figures with 13 points, with Kitchen and Artsiom
Parakhouski scoring 12 points each and Josh Duncan and Eliyahu adding 11 and 10
Jon Diebler led Karsiyaka with 20
Jerusalem will face Olimpija Ljubljana, Budivelnik Kiev and
Banvit Bandirma in Group M of the Last 32, which gets underway on January 7. The
top two will progress to the eighth-finals.
Earlier Wednesday, Hapoel
announced the signing of 20-year-old guard Tom Ma’ayan on a five-year
Ma’ayan joined Seton Hall University last season, but is returning
to Israel to fulfill his military requirements with the IDF.
Haifa found itself down by as many as 19 points (40-21) and trailed by 15 points
(40-25) at the break. The Greens ate away at the deficit in the second half,
closing to within three points (73-70) with 45 seconds to play.
they would come no closer and dropped to yet another dejecting
Ben Reis had 18 points for Haifa, with Ike Ofoegbu scoring 16
points. Vlad Moldoveanu led Tallinn with 19 points.
Haifa will face
Khimki Moscow and Czech team Nymburk in Group K of the Last 32, as well as one
other team yet to be determined.
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