Hapoel Jerusalem center Richard Howell.
(photo credit: LIRON MOLDOVAN/BSL)
Hapoel Jerusalem dropped to its first defeat of the BSL campaign on Sunday night, suffering a surprise 86-74 home loss to Maccabi Ashdod.
The unexpected setback was the last thing Hapoel needed ahead of its visit to Reggio Emilia in Eurocup action in Italy on Wednesday.
Jerusalem has lost its first three regular season games in continental play and will be in real danger of failing to qualify for the Top 16 should it fall to 0-4.
Jerusalem dug itself an early hole on Sunday and was never in control.
A 17-3 Ashdod run to end the first quarter gave the visitors a 14-point margin (30-16) Brad Greenberg’s team never lost.
Jerusalem closed to within a single point (53-52) in the third period, but couldn’t complete a comeback and pressure is beginning to build on coach Fotis Katsikaris.
Sek Henry had 26 points for Ashdod (2-2), with David Laury adding 22 points and 11 rebounds. Jerome Dyson, Austin Daye and Bar Timor scored 16 points each for Jerusalem.
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Ironi Nahariya continued its strong start to the campaign with a 95-82 win over Bnei Herzliya on Sunday. Nahariya made it three straight wins since losing its opener to Jerusalem after going on a 14-2 run in the fourth quarter to establish a 15-point gap (84-69) it easily maintained until the final buzzer.
Corey Webster had 23 points and six assists for the winners, with Alex Young adding 16 points and seven rebounds.
Taurean Green scored 20 points for Herzliya, which fell to 1-3 with a third straight loss.
Hapoel Tel Aviv moved back to .500 (2-2) after snapping a two-game losing streak with an 82-76 win over Hapoel Eilat.
Tel Aviv opened an early double- digit gap (14-4), but it was Eilat which had a one-point edge (58-57) entering the final 10 minutes.
A 12-2 run put the hosts back in control (74-64) in the fourth quarter and Hapoel held off Eilat for a confidence-boosting victory.
Jerel McNeal led five Tel Aviv players in double figures with 19 points and seven assists. Mike Rosario netted 20 points for Eilat, which fell to 1-3.
On Monday, Maccabi Tel Aviv looks to extend its perfect start in the BSL when it hosts Maccabi Haifa.
The yellow-and-blue edged Hapoel Gilboa/Galil in its most-recent league game, but has since suffered two consecutive defeats in the Euroleague, at home to Olympiacos and on the road at Red Star Belgrade. Tel Aviv hosts Olympia Milano in continental action on Thursday.
Also Monday, Maccabi Rishon Lezion visits Ironi Ness Ziona.
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