Maccabi Haifa clinched a berth in the Eurocup Last 32 on Wednesday night with a
dramatic win over VEF Riga, while Hapoel Jerusalem was left with plenty of work
to do after losing to Khimki Moscow in Russia.
Ike Ofoegbu’s tip-in with
0.7 seconds remaining on the clock gave Haifa a 74- 72 win against Riga at
Romema Arena, improving the team’s record to 6-2, with both of Maccabi’s losses
coming against the still undefeated Unics Kazan.
Less than 48 hours after
claiming a memorable BSL win over Maccabi Tel Aviv, Jerusalem gave Russian
powerhouse Khimki a run for its money for 35 minutes before running out of steam
and falling to an 85-73 loss.
Despite its third defeat in its past four
Eurocup games, Hapoel remained in third place in Group E, which would see it
advance to the next round. However, it dropped to a 4-4 record, just one game
ahead of CSU Pioiesti (3-5) and Academic Sofia (3-5) with two more games to
Jerusalem visits Pioiesti in Romania next week before hosting
Karsiyaka Izmir (5-3) in its final regular season contest the following
At Romema, Haifa raced into an early double-digit lead (15-5) after
Moran Roth’s first points of the night and the Israeli playmaker scored five
more to end the first period, opening a 13-point gap (24-11).
Yavzuri caught fire in the second quarter, scoring 10 points off the bench, and
Donta Smith’s basket took the margin to a record 18 points (45- 27), before the
visitors scored the final two points of the first half (45-29).
Haifa failed to kill off the game in the third period, with costly turnovers
allowing Riga to close within eight points (56-48) with 10 minutes to
A 13-2 run, capped by a Kenan Bajramovic basket, completed Riga’s
comeback, giving the visitors a 61-60 advantage with 6:27 to play.
game would go back-and-forth after that, but Haifa would have the final laugh
after Ofoegbu placed himself perfectly to tip-in Smith’s missed
Yavzuri and Brian Randle led Haifa with 16 points each, with
Smith and Ofoegbu scoring 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Janicenoks had 17 points for Riga.
In Moscow, an 11-2 run by Khimki saw
it open a 15-point gap (34-19) in the second quarter, but points by Lior Eliyahu
and Yotam Halperin saw the visitors limit the damage by the break and close to
within nine points (43-34).
Hapoel continued to eat away at the deficit
in the third frame, with Halperin’s three-pointer giving the team a 58-56
Jerusalem was within one possession (61-58) at the start of the
fourth quarter, but ultimately couldn’t keep pace with the hosts, who improved
Halperin and Artsiom Parakhouski had 19 points each for
Jerusalem, with Eliyahu scoring 18. Paul Davis had 22 points to lead Khimki.
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