Yuval Naimi of Hapoel Jerusalem 311.
(photo credit: Haim Tzah/Hapoel Jerusalem website)
Hapoel Jerusalem’s Eurocup future hangs by a thread after the Reds suffered a
humbling 97-74 defeat at BCM Gravelines in France on Tuesday.
needed a win in France to keep its fate in its own hands, but was out of its
depth from the start, being outscored 27-13 in the first period and never coming
close to mounting a comeback.
Hapoel dropped to 1-3 with the defeat, but
it still holds a slender chance of overhauling BC Donetsk and finishing in the
top two in Group A to advance to the last 16.
Donetsk held on for a tight
78-76 win over Cibona Zagreb in Croatia on Tuesday, with two free throws by
point guard Vule Avdalovic with just nine seconds remaining and a Hrvoje
Kovacevic miss at the buzzer ensuring the Ukrainians improved to a 3-1
However, a Jerusalem win by at least 10 points when it hosts
Donetsk next week at Malha Arena will keep alive its hopes of advancing as it
will ensure the Israelis hold the tiebreaker over the Ukrainians, which beat
Hapoel 80-71 when the teams met in their group opener.
But for the
tiebreaker to have any importance Hapoel will also need to defeat Cibona in
Zagreb in its final group game and for Gravelines, which already secured its
place in the next round on Tuesday, to do it a big favor and beat the Ukrainians
on the road.
It could have all been different had Hapoel won in France on
Tuesday, but it never looked capable of doing so, being outplayed by Gravelines
for a second straight week.
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Hapoel scored the first four points of the
night, but the hosts replied with a 14-2 run to seize control.
only going to be one outcome to the game after the Frenchmen took a 14-point
cushion into the second period, with Hapoel failing to even close within
single-digits for the remainder of the game, trailing 51-33 at the
The second half was pure garbage time, giving Jerusalem plenty of
time to mull over what looks set to be another early exit from continental
Elishay Kadir and Brian Randle were the only Jerusalem
players who performed anywhere near their best, scoring 14 and 11 points,
respectively, for the Reds, who had 19 turnovers.
Rudy Jomby led five
Gravelines players in double-figures with 23 points, while Juan-Khalif Edwards
scored 12 points for the Frenchmen, who were once more outstanding offensively
and have won their four games in the Eurocup so far by an average 23.5 points.
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