Hapoel Jerusalem in deep hole after another defeat

Chances of reaching Eurocup Top 16 suffer major blow following Hapoel’s loss to Buducnost

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December 7, 2017 00:52
2 minute read.
Hapoel Jerusalem forward Austin Daye (right) had every reason to look dejected last night after the

Hapoel Jerusalem forward Austin Daye (right) had every reason to look dejected last night after the team dropped to a 92-75 defeat at Buducnost in Eurocup action in Montenegro.. (photo credit: DANNY MARON)

 
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Hapoel Jerusalem is on the verge of being knocked out in the Eurocup regular season after suffering yet another dejecting loss in continental competition on Wednesday night, falling 92-75 at Buducnost in Montenegro.

After reaching the semifinals of the competition last season, Jerusalem dropped to a 2-5 record and last place in Group B with three games to play in the regular season.

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Hapoel is still only one game back of Lietkabelis Panevezys and Reggio Emilia in third and fourth place in the standings, with the top four to advance to the Top 16. However, Jerusalem will need to somehow register a dramatic improvement in the coming weeks to even have a chance of progressing, with a road game at the perfect Bayern Munich (7-0) to come next week after which the team will host Reggio Emilia.

Hapoel caps the regular season with a visit to Galatasaray (2-5) in Istanbul on December 27.

After three tight quarters, Hapoel lost its head in the fourth frame in Montenegro, with Buducnost opening the final period with a 13-0 run to establish a 15-point margin (75-60).

Jerome Dyson had 19 points for Hapoel, which shot 24-of-65 from the field (36.9%). Petar Popovic had 20 points for Buducnost, which improved to 4-3.

A 9-0 run saw Jerusalem open an early six-point lead (19-13), but the hosts closed back to within two points (19-17) by the end of the first quarter and a tight first half ended with Buducnost holding a three-point edge (43-40).

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The Montenegrins scored seven of the final nine points of the third frame to ensure they were in front entering the final 10 minutes (62-60) in which Jerusalem would completely capitulate. It took Hapoel nearly four minutes to score its first points of the quarter, allowing Buducnost to go on a 13-0 run and open a 15-point cushion (75-60).

Jerusalem came no closer than 11 points and has a mountain to climb to reach the Top 16 after coach Mody Maor suffered his second straight loss following three consecutive wins to start his tenure.

On Tuesday, Hapoel Holon revived its hopes in the FIBA Champions League, improving to 2-5 in Group A with a 94-90 win over Baskets Oledenburg of Germany.

Holon trailed by as many as 12 points, but outscored Oldenburg 32-17 in the fourth quarter to clinch the victory.

Corey Walden finished with 31 points, with Tamir Blatt registering a Champions League season-high 13 assists to go with 12 points.

“I’m definitely happy about the result. Real proud of how our guys played in the fourth quarter especially, coming back, playing together,” said Holon coach Dan Shamir. “We’ve got some good things to build on, obviously we also have some things we can do better but hopefully we will take advantage of the opportunity that we created here.”

Holon is sixth in Group A, but is just one game back of Murcia in fourth at the midway point of the regular season. The regular season consists of 14 games, with the top four to advance to the round of 16.

Holon, which has won six straight games in the BSL, hosts Murcia of Spain next Tuesday, two days after it visits Maccabi Tel Aviv in local league action and four days before it goes to Hapoel Jerusalem.

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