Despite Amar’e Stoudemire’s season-high 22 points, Hapoel Jerusalem was thrashed last night 101-81 at Zenit St. Petersburg in Eurocup Top 16 action in Russia.
(photo credit: DANNY MAARON)
Hapoel Jerusalem returned to first place in Eurocup Top 16 Group G on Tuesday night, claiming an outstanding 97-81 victory over Zenit St. Petersburg at the Jerusalem Arena to improve to 3-1. Jerusalem’s perfect start to the Top 16 was snapped with an emphatic 101-81 defeat in St.
Petersburg last week. But Hapoel bounced back in impressive fashion and will advance to the quarterfinals from first place should it defeat Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius at home next Wednesday and overcome Nizhny Novgorod in Russia in its final group game.
The top two from the group will advance to the quarterfinals, but winning the group could prove to be crucial as it ensures home-court advantage in the best-of-three playoff series.
Amar’e Stoudemire registered a season- high in points for a second straight week, scoring 26 points while also grabbing nine rebounds.
Curtis Jerrells netted 22 points for Jerusalem, with Jerome Dyson adding 18 and Travis Peter-son contributing 14.
Jerusalem led by as many as 10 points (29-19) in the second quarter, but the game was still wide open at the interval, with Zenit cutting the deficit to four points (41-37). The hosts domi-nated the second half and led by a record 23 points (93-70) with three minutes to play.
A victory by more than 20 points would have given Jerusalem the head-to-head tiebreaker over Zenit, but Jerusalem nevertheless has its fate in its own hands and will be confident of claiming first place with two more wins.