hapoel jerusalem 88.
(photo credit: )
Hapoel Jerusalem finished the ULEB Cup regular season on a high note with a convincing 94-82 win over Crvena Zvezda at Pionir Arena in Belgrade on Tuesday night.
The victory clinched second place in Group D and sends Jerusalem to Friday's first elimination-round draw in Barcelona as a No. 2 seed.
Horace Jenkins led Hapoel with 23 points and overtook former Jerusalem point guard Lamont Jones for the regular season scoring crown. Jenkins averaged 21.1 points per game compared to Jones's 20.9. Jenkins also had six assists.
Tamar Slay added 22 points and Mario Austin 18.
Milan Gurovic led Crvena Zvezda with 24 points.
Jerusalem was in control practically the entire game.
After Roger Mason Jr. started the scoring with a three-pointer, the hosts went on a 9-0 run. But coach Erez Edelstein's charges answered back with 10 straight points and never trailed again.
The reds led 52-44 at halftime after Matan Naor's buzzer-beater and continued to build on the lead in the third quarter.
Crvena Zvezda got as close as 60-54, but Hapoel scored the next nine points and cemented its lead.
The advantage reached 17 on a Meir Tapiro layup at the end of the third quarter and peaked at 90-69 in the closing minutes when Tapiro fed Jenkins for a back-door score.
"It's a big honor to win here in Belgrade," Edelstein told the team's Web site afterwards.
"This win shows a lot of character and and determination," he added.
In the next round potential opponents for Jerusalem, the 2004 ULEB Cup winners, include Belgian champion Euphony Bree, France's Adecco Asvel Villeurbanne, Serbian side FMP (formerly Reflex) Zeleznik and Spanish club Etosa Alicante.
The round will consist of two games, with the aggregate winner moving on to the quarterfinals. The first legs are scheduled for January 31 with the return legs on February 7. As a group runner-up, Hapoel will host the second game.
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