Hapoel Jerusalem forward Shawn Jones (right) scored 15 points in an Oct. 16, 2016 win over James Singelton (left) and Maccabi Kiryat Gat in BSL action.
(photo credit: UDI ZITIAT)
It may only have been Hapoel Jerusalem’s first Eurocup game of the campaign, but the team could have hardly made a stronger statement regarding its intentions in the competition this season.
By claiming an 81-77 win on Wednesday night at Valencia, which is considered to be one of the best teams in the competition, Hapoel not only got the regular season off to a perfect start but also showed it is ready to compete against the Eurocup’s best.
Jerusalem was in control from the start, holding a slender lead for much of the night. The score was tied at 68-68 with five minutes to play and it was Hapoel’s ability to hold Valencia to just three points in the final three minutes that allowed it to eke out the win.
Curtis Jerrells had 18 points for Jerusalem, with Jerome Dyson scoring 17 and Amar’e Stoudemire adding 10 points and 10 rebounds. Rafa Martinez netted 22 points for Valencia.
Jerusalem has big aspirations in Europe this season after reaching the Eurocup quarterfinals only once in the last six seasons. It failed to make it past the regular season in 2014/15 before barely progressing to the Last 32 last season.
Hapoel visits Olimpija Ljubljana in Slovenia next Wednesday before hosting Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar of Russia the following week.
Jerusalem also faces Ulm of Germany in Group D, with the best four teams from each regular season group to advance to the Top 16.