Hapoel Jerusalem shrugs off slump with 22-point rout of Haifa

Hapoel got the season off to a promising start, but two consecutive defeats in the Eurocup have seen it fall to 3-2 in Group D

November 27, 2016 23:55
2 minute read.
Amar’e Stoudemire

Hapoel Jerusalem center Amar’e Stoudemire had a season-high 16 points and 11 rebounds in last night’s 93-71 win over Maccabi Haifa at the Jerusalem Arena.. (photo credit: UDI ZITIAT)

Hapoel Jerusalem registered its first win in nearly a month on Sunday night, beating Maccabi Haifa 93-71 to improve to 4-4 in the BSL.

Jerusalem entered the game on the back of five consecutive losses over all competitions, with its last victory coming against Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar in Eurocup action on November 2.

Hapoel got the season off to a promising start, but two consecutive defeats in the Eurocup have seen it fall to 3-2 in Group D. Three straight losses in the BSL left Jerusalem under .500, but it ended the drought with a comfortable win over Haifa.

“It was a good victory,” said Jerusalem coach Simone Pianigiani. “We played two great games against two excellent teams in Maccabi Tel Aviv and Valencia last week, but lost both. We played with the right mentality and attacked the game. We needed the victory today for the confidence of the players. Players are not machines and this game will encourage them.”

Bar Timor and Curtis Jerrells each scored 20 points for Jerusalem, with Amar’e Stoudemire adding season-highs of 16 points and 11 rebounds.

“This win was very important for us,” said the six-time NBA All- Star. “We had to come out with tenacity after losing five straight games. We are starting to come along more and more offensively and that is helping me as well.”

Jerusalem signed Dijon Thompson last week and Pianigiani is pushing to make further changes to the roster, with the Italian eager to replace Rafi Menco and Isaac Rosefelt, who have seen little action to date.

Amit Simhon and Tony Mitchell each scored 17 points for Haifa, which fell to 3-5.

Haifa had a far from ideal preparation for the game, with several of its players having to leave their homes due to the fires which engulfed the city last week.

On Monday, the in-form Maccabi Tel Aviv will be confident of improving to 7-1 with a home win over Maccabi Kiryat Gat, despite the absence of Sonny Weems and Yogev Ohayon, as well as Devin Smith.

Maccabi, which has won three straight Euroleague games, hasn’t registered Smith to any of its BSL games to keep him rested for continental action. Weems and Ohayon have been given the day off after a hectic period and ahead of Thursday’s Euroleague encounter against Efes Istanbul.

Elsewhere Monday, Hapoel Holon hosts Hapoel Eilat, which has added Rafi Menco on a loan deal until the end of the season after he struggled to receive playing time in Jerusalem. Bnei Herzliya visits Hapoel Gilboa/Galil.

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