Hapoel Jerusalem GUARD Jerome Dyson.
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Hapoel Jerusalem finally got its first Eurocup win under its belt last week, and it can still scarcely afford anything other than another victory when it hosts Galatasaray of Turkey at the Jerusalem Arena on Wednesday night.
Jerusalem kick-started its continental campaign with last Wednesday’s hard-fought 63-61 win at Reggio Emilia.
After opening its campaign with three straight losses, Hapoel required a Jerome Dyson three-pointer with 18.4 seconds to play to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish in Italy.
Hapoel enters Wednesday just one game back of Reggio Emilia in fourth place in Group B, having six more regular season games to play and with the top four to advance to the next round.
However, with three of its final four games to come on the road, including against Buducnost and Bayern Munich, which have already won in Jerusalem, Hapoel will be in serious trouble should it lose at home once more, especially to the winless Galatasaray.
The Turks fell to 0-4 last week following a loss to Lietkabelis Panevezys of Lithuania, which visits Jerusalem next week.
“Galatasaray is a talented team with a talented roster that can make our life hard, even though they haven’t reached the results they expected,” said Hapoel coach Fotis Katsikaris. “We know the importance of this game and we cannot lose another home game. I believe that after the last two games and the way we have been practicing recently, our fans will see a more prepared team than the last time they saw us against Bayern.”
New American guard Kalin Lucas could make his debut for Jerusalem against Galatasaray after signing with the team on Sunday. The 28-year-old was brought in to help fill the void left by the departure of Curtis Jerrells last month. Jerrells was surprisingly cut by the team after falling out with Katsikaris. Lucas averaged 18.1 points per game for Iowa Energy and Erie BayHawks in the NBA D-League last season. Lucas played college ball at Michigan State where he was chosen as the Big Ten player of the year in 2009. Lucas also has European experience, playing for Greek powerhouse Olympiacos, as well as Turkish clubs Banvit and Ankara Kolejliler.
On Tuesday, Hapoel Holon finally registered its first victory in the FIBA Champions League, snapping a fourgame losing streak with a home win over Enisey Krasnoyarsk of Russia.
After winning three straight BSL games to finally move over .500 (3-2) in local action, Holon is hoping to also resurrect its continental campaign. The regular season consists of 14 games, and four of the eight teams in the group will advance to the round of 16.
Krasnoyarsk led by double-digits (40-30) in the second quarter, but Holon fought back to close to within four points (42-38) by the break.
The hosts took a two-point gap (65-63) into the final 10 minutes and held on to finally claim a European win.
Glen Rice Jr. was superb once more for Holon, finishing with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Joe Alexander added 18 points for the winners.