Hapoel Jerusalem roared back from an early doubledigit deficit to blow out Hapoel Galil Elyon-Golan 99-70 in a BSL Matchday 10 game Sunday night at Malha. Meir Tapiro scored a seasonhigh 24 and Horace Jenkins added 23 for Jerusalem.
With the win Jerusalem improved to 6-2 and moved into third place with a game in hand. Galil dropped to 5-4.
Maccabi Rishon took over sole possession of second place with an 88-76 win over Ironi Nahariya. Also Sunday, Ironi Ramat Gan edged Elitzur Ashkelon 100-97 and Maccabi Givat Shmuel fell into last place when it lost to Ramat Hasharon 91-88.
In the capital, Ido Kozikaro had a big game against his boyhood club, scoring 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Kozikaro's father, Ya'acov, is now the chairman at Galil and he sat on the sidelines watching his son dominate his team.
Kozikaro scored five as Jerusalem started with a 7-0 lead and soon things got even worse for the visitors, as starting guard Jason Straight picked up his third foul less than three-and-a-half minutes into the game. But Galil's frontline - Lior Eliyahu, Sasa Bratic and Uche Nsonwu - more than picked up the slack, using their combination of speed, height and passing skills to dance around their opponents and keep their team in the game. Young Yogev Ohayon and Avishai Gordon then combined for 10 points during a 12-0 run that put Galil on top 27-17.
The Galil lead peaked at 32-21 early in the second period, when Tapiro took over. Three straight buckets ignited a Jerusalem run that continued into the locker rooms with the hosts comfortably ahead 49-37. Tapiro scored 12 during the 28-5 blitz that put Jerusalem ahead for good.
The hosts put the game away at the start of the third as Tapiro and Jenkins pushed the team on offense and Matan Naor came up big on the defensive end. The lead reached 20 after four minutes. By the fourth quarter, Jerusalem was ahead 30 and the lead peaked at 33 on a Raviv Limonad reverse layup in the final minute.
Bratic led Galil with 19 points, while Eliyahu added 14 in defeat.
In another game with early playoff implications, Rishon got huge performances from two players to down Nahariya. John Gilchrist led Rishon with 21 points, 14 rebounds and six assists, while Omar Sneed neared a tripledouble with 13 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists. Jayson Wells led Nahariya with 30 points and nine boards.
Maccabi Tel Aviv and Bnei Hasharon wrap up Matchday 10 on Monday night at Nokia Arena. The game will be the first time that former Maccabi assistant Ya'acov Geno meets his former team since leaving this summer.
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