Rishon Lezion bows out of Europe Cup

Road rout by Frankfurt in finale of quarterfinals knocks last Israeli club from continental competition.

By
April 1, 2016 02:11
2 minute read.
Basketball

Maccabi Rishon Lezion guard Shawn Dawson (with ball) had one of his worst games of the season at the wrong moment, being held to four points last night in the decisive Game 3 of the Europe Cup quarterfinal series against Skyliners Frankfurt, which the host Germans won 91-75.. (photo credit: TIM DANNENBERG/FRAPORT SKYLINERS)

 
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Maccabi Rishon Lezion’s impressive continental run came to an end on Thursday night, one step from the FIBA Europe Cup Final Four.

Rishon Lezion entered its European campaign with little expectations, playing in continental competition for the first time since 2007.

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However, it ended up coming within touching distance of the Final Four, losing 2-1 to Skyliners Frankfurt in the best-of-three quarterfinal series after suffering a 91-75 defeat in Game 3 in Germany on Thursday night.

Rishon handed Frankfurt its first loss in the competition last week to tie the series and gave the Germans a real run for their money once more on Thursday before running out of steam in the second half.

Darryl Monroe was superb for Rishon yet again, but his 29 points were not enough. Mark Lyons added 23 points, but Israeli star Shawn Dawson was held to just four points. Philip Scrubb led six Frankfurt players in double figures with 20 points.

Rishon got off to an excellent start, leading by as many as five points (19-14) in the first quarter. Frankfurt had no answer for Lyons, who accounted for eight of his team’s points, but the Germans would raise their intensity towards the end of the first period and seized the initiative.

The hosts scored the final six points of the quarter to take a slim lead (22- 20) and built on the momentum at the start of the second frame, establishing a double-digit margin. Danilo Barthel capped a 14-0 run over a three-and-a-half minute period which gave Frankfurt a 10-point cushion (30-20) and Rishon was in danger of losing touch.

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Game 1 in Germany also began in a similar pattern, with the hosts opening a double-digit gap at the start of the second quarter on the way to a 35-point drubbing.

However, Rishon wouldn’t make the same mistakes again, quickly closing within four points (32-28) before entering the break down by just five points (43-38). Lyons’ free throws brought the visitors within a single point (51-50) midway through the third frame, but Rishon could not complete the comeback.

Frankfurt scored 16 of the final 21 points of the quarter to build a 67-55 margin and secured its place in the Final Four after beginning the final period with a 10-0 run.

Meanwhile, BSL action resumes with two games on Saturday. Hapoel Jerusalem can take another step towards securing the No. 1 seed in the playoffs when it hosts Bnei Herzliya. Jerusalem improved to 19-6 earlier this week with a 95-89 overtime victory over third-place Maccabi Haifa for its fourth straight win.

Hapoel’s winning streak began with a 20-point triumph over fourth-place Herzliya (14-11) and also includes a victory over second-place Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Also Saturday, Hapoel Holon (9-16) welcomes Ironi Nahariya (14-11).

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