Hapoel J’lem coasts in Eurocup opener

Reds overwhelm Riga 91-78 at Malha; Gilboa, Haifa also triumph as Netanya falls.

By
November 17, 2010 07:57
3 minute read.
BRIAN RANDLE (left, with Yuval Naimi)

Hapoel Jerusalem 311. (photo credit: Hapoel Jerusalem website)

Hapoel Jerusalem could not have hoped for a better start to its Eurocup regular season campaign on Tuesday night.

Jerusalem defeated VEF Riga 91-78 at Malha Arena, opening a double-digit margin in the first period and cruising for the remainder of the encounter.

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“We won thanks to our defense.”

Hapoel coach Oded Katash said. “We also began the game well on the offensive end and we were very sharp from the start. I’m very pleased.”

Hapoel Gilboa/Galil’s Eurocup opener went just as well, with Lior Lubin’s men claiming an impressive 92-83 victory at Cedevita Zagreb.

Gilboa led throughout the game, scoring 10 of 19 from beyond the arc and out-rebounding the hosts 41-28.

Jack McClinton led six Gilboa players in double-figures with 18 points, with Dagan Yavzuri adding 16.

Also Tuesday, Israel’s representatives experienced mixed fortunes at the start of the EuroChallenge regular season.

Maccabi Haifa defeated Skyliners Frankfurt 83-78 in Germany, while Barak Netanya lost 70-67 at Belgacom Liege.

At Malha, Jerusalem scored 21 of the first 26 points of the game and never looked back.

Brian Randle led Hapoel with 22 points and nine rebounds in 24 minutes, with Jason Rich adding 20 points and Will Solomon scoring 17.

“We really came together and gelled over the past week,” said Randle, who played a key role in the fact Jerusalem shot 65 percent (25 of 38) from twopoint range.

“Riga played its heart out and we had to fight for the win.”

Kristaps Janicenoks had 23 points for Riga, which was out-rebounded 36- 20 by the hosts.

Riga scored the first points of the night, but that would prove to be the visitors’ only lead of the game with Jerusalem quickly seizing the initiative.

The Latvians could not cope with Hapoel’s defense and a Randle dunk capped a 16-1 run to give the hosts a 13-point lead (16-3) after four minutes.

Katash’s men continued to extend the margin in the subsequent minutes, with Rich’s basket giving Jerusalem a 26-9 gap.

Riga scored the final three points of the first period to close within 14 points (26-12), but the visitors would never truly get back into the game.

Hapoel scored the first four points of the second quarter, and even when the visitors managed to cut the margin to 11 points (44-33), Solomon was on hand to immediately extend Jerusalem’s advantage with a threepointer.

The hosts would take a 49-33 lead into the second half and another Solomon three gave them a 20-point margin (56-36).

Riga ended the third quarter with a 7-0 run to close the lead to 62-49, but Hapoel began the final frame with a 9- 2 run and would sail trouble free for the rest of the game.

In Group G’s other game, Cajasol Sevilla, who hosts Jerusalem next week, beat Czech side CEZ Nymburk 93-77 on the road.

In Frankfurt, Haifa got the game off to a good start, but led by just a single point (19-18) after 10 minutes.

A Derrick Low three gave the visitors a seven-point gap (31-24) in the second period, but Haifa scored just two more points in the final three minutes of the first half and the Germans led 37-33 at the break.

Dashaun Wood scored midway through the third quarter to give the hosts a 48-41 advantage, but Haifa went on a 9-0 and led 52-50 with 10 minutes to go.

Haifa carried the momentum into the fourth period, going on a 16-2 run to open a 72-58 advantage it would easily convert into a big road win.

Larry O’Bannon had 20 points for Haifa, with Sylven Landesberg adding 19 and Marco Killingsworth scoring 14.

For Jerusalem player Roger Powell had 18 points for Frankfurt.


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