Hapoel Jerusalem chased Dynamo Moscow for 40 minutes, but didn't have the firepower to match the Russian giants on Tuesday night in Moscow as Dynamo scored a 92-81 win that sent the team to the ULEB Cup final next month in Charleroi, Belgium.
Dynamo will face Aris Thessaloniki of Greece, which edged Serbian side Hemofarm Vrsac in the other semifinal, for the title.
Hapoel hung around for the first five minutes before surrendering 14 unanswered points that it never recovered. The reds never gave in and closed the gap to three late in the third quarter, but a 13-1 run put Moscow up 81-66 and ended the story.
Mire Chatman and Ruben Douglas scored 27 and 21 points respectively to lead Dynamo, which never trailed. The biggest surprise for the hosts was small forward Dmitry Domani, generally considered Dynamo's weakest offensive player, who didn't miss from the field as he scored 18 of his 19 points in the first half.
Center Lazaros Papadopoulos, who overwhelmed the Hapoel big men in the first leg of the semifinal last week, made just one field goal and finished with 10 points on 8-of-14 free-throw shooting. Forward Antonios Fotsis added seven points and 10 rebounds.
The hosts won nearly every statistical battle, going to the line more (38-10), outrebounding (36-28) and swatting six shots to Hapoel's zero.
Jerusalem was clearly upset about the refereeing. Coach Erez Edelstein told the ULEB Cup Web site: "You can't win in Moscow when they go to the line 38 times and you only 10."
Mario Austin was at his best on the offensive side for the visitors, erupting for 34 points, but his high-priced American co-stars disappointed.
Horace Jenkins scored 14, but committed as many turnovers as he scored baskets (5), while Roger Mason Jr. added only seven.
Team captain Meir Tapiro got a rare start on his 31st birthday and came through with 11 points, nine assists and five steals. Reserve center Erez Marckovich benefited from a number of Tapiro assists on his way to 10 points.
Tamir Slay took another step towards finishing the season as the most overpaid player in team history as he failed to score and fouled out in 12 minutes.
A Mason trifecta tied the score at 13 midway through the first period, but after a Dusko Ivkovic timeout, Dynamo started firing in threes at an alarming rate. Douglas, who went 0-for-11 from the field in Malha, started the run, Domani followed, Douglas hit another and the Chatman made it four threepointers in as many trips down the court.
After Domani added two from the line, Dynamo was comfortably ahead and held on for a 34-19 lead at the end of the opening period.
Hapoel didn't cave in and Austin and Jenkins made threes to help gut the gap to single digits late in the first half, but back-to-back threes from Douglas and Chatman saw Dynamo take a 54-42 lead at halftime.
Jerusalem found its touch from downtown in the third as Austin netted back-to-back threes to give Hapoel hope. But Papadopoulos made a pair of free throws and Chatman added a three to turn the momentum Moscow's way for good.
Down 15 early in the fourth, Hapoel strung together an 8-0 spurt, but Dynamo never let up.
It was clear that the end was near after Jenkins went headfirst into a crowd of Russian defenders for an offensive foul and Fotsis took an alley-oop at the other end to make it 86-74 with 3:30 remaining.
Jenkins then miss-fired from three to signal the end of an otherwise very respectable European campaign for the reds.
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