Hapoel Jerusalem qualified for the second round of the ULEB Cup on Tuesday night with a 95-82 win over Frankfurt Skyliners in Germany.
Jerusalem wasn't at its best for most of the game, but an excellent fourth quarter was enough for the reds to secure the victory.
Frankfurt had lost its previous six games in the ULEB Cup and was eager to get its first win of the competition against the reds.
The Skyliners stayed close to Hapoel for three quarters, but Jerusalem blitzed the Germans in the final period and eventually won the game easily.
Jerusalem solidified second place in the group and was assured of qualification for the elimination round, after Roma lost 82-70 to group leaders Dynamo Moscow.
Mario Austin dominated play under the baskets ending the game with 28 points and 13 boards. Excellent guard Horace Jenkins (20 points and nine assists) was the star of Hapoel's excellent fourth quarter, scoring three pointers and penetrating to the basket untouched.
The game was good preparation for Jerusalem, which has now won eight straight games, ahead of next weeks game against Maccabi Tel Aviv.
The clash of the titans will take place in Jerusalem on Monday and Hapoel will be eager to finally get a chance to topple the eternal Israeli champions.
Hapoel, which won the first game against Frankfurt 80-65, and began the game well with three pointers by Tamar Slay and Roger Mason that gave the reds an early 10-4 lead.
A Mason three pointer gave Hapoel a 21-17 lead, but American guard Kavossy Franklin kept the Germans close to Hapoel and his eight first quarter points helped his team to a 24-23 lead at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter was much like the first with the lead changing hands many times. Hapoel turnovers enabled Frankfurt to stay in touch with the reds and the game remained tight until the end of the half, eventually ending 43-43.
Jerusalem hoped to improve its play in the second half and finally pulled away from the Germans, but lack of concentration by Hapoel meant it was unable to pick up its level of play.
The lead continued to change hands frequently with neither team able to open up a lead.
Frankfurt kept its nose ahead for most of the quarter eventually leading 69-67 going into the last period.
Hapoel opened up a lead at the start of the fourth quarter after a 13-1 run. Jerusalem remained focused during the quarter and shut down Skyliners on defense.
A Jenkins three pointer three minutes from the end capped Hapoel's 21-5 run and the demoralized Frankfurt players were unable to muster any type comeback.
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