Hapoel Jerusalem guard Jerome Dyson.
(photo credit: HAPOEL JERUSALEM WEBSITE)
First place in Eurocup Top 16 Group G will be on the line when Hapoel Jerusalem entertains Zenit St. Petersburg at Jerusalem Arena on Tuesday night.
Jerusalem’s perfect start to the Top 16 was snapped with an emphatic 101-81 defeat in St. Petersburg last week, leaving both teams with a 2-1 record.
The top two from the group will advance to the quarterfinals, but another defeat to the Russians will end any realistic chance Hapoel has of progressing from first place, which ensures home-court advantage in the best-of-three playoff series.
Zenit was paced by Ryan Toolson’s 28 points last week, while Amar’e Stoudemire scored a season-high 22 points for Hapoel.
Stoudemire was rested in Saturday’s BSL win over Ironi Nahariya, with Jerusalem claiming the victory thanks to a Curtis Jerrells three-pointer in the final second.
Jerrells was limited to seven points in Russia last week, with St. Petersburg scoring 22 points or more in each quarter to surpass its already high season average of 90.5 points per game.
“They are a great team. They have a system and have many players and a coach back from last season,” said Jerusalem coach Simone Pianigiani, who will have new signing Brian Randle at his disposal for the first time. “We need something extra. We are in the position we wanted to be in at the beginning of the season. If we are able to beat them this can be a big step toward qualification.”
On TV: Eurocup basketball: Hapoel Jerusalem vs Zenit St. Petersburg (live on Channel 20 at 8:15 p.m.)