(photo credit: Hapoel Jerusalem website)
Hapoel Jerusalem missed a golden opportunity to close in on a place in the
Eurocup Last 16 on Tuesday night, losing 73- 67 at CEZ Nymburk in the Czech
Republic in its first defeat of the regular season.
Tuesday’s encounter with a 2-0 record after surprising Cajasol Sevilla in Spain
However, Hapoel didn’t come close to repeating its form from
Spain in Nymburk, commiting 17 turnovers and shooting just 19 of 42 from
two-point range in an allaround poor performance.
Katash’s team remains well placed to finish in the top two in Group G, with
Nymburk coming to Malha next week.
“We have a week to prepare for the
game at Malha and I’m sure we will play better,” said Katash, who will be
expecting his team to defeat the Czechs by more than six points in Jerusalem to
claim the tiebreaker.
“The players are very disappointed with their play
tonight, but it is only natural that there is an occasional drop in form.
Nevertheless, the final score isn’t all bad as our fate is still in our own
Jason Rich scored 22 points for Hapoel, with Will Solomon adding
11. Former Hapoel and Maccabi Tel Aviv swingman Tre Simmons led Nymburk with 18
Meanwhile, Hapoel Gilboa/Galil’s hopes of advancing to the
Eurocup knockout rounds from Group D suffered a significant blow.
losing to Aris Thessaloniki last week, Gilboa dropped fell its second straight
home defeat at Malha Arena on Tuesday, falling 95-86 at the hands of Ukrainian
champion BC Azovmash.
The Ukrainians opened a 49- 40 lead by the break
and maintained a double-digit margin for much of the second half on the way to a
relatively comfortable victory.
Dagan Yavzuri had 18 points for Gilboa –
which fell to 1-2 – but Demetrius Alexander was unstoppable for the visitors,
scoring 31 points, including five of seven from beyond the arc.
Tuesday, Barak Netanya improved to 2-1 in EuroChallenge Group D while Maccabi
Haifa fell to 1-1 in Group B.
Netanya beat Turk Telekom 113-89 behind
Adrian Banks’s 30 points, with Sani Becirovic scoring 19 for the
Haifa lost 86-80 to BK Ventspils in Nesher after trailing by
double figures for most of the night.
Larry O’Bannon led Haifa with 19
points, with Rashad Anderson scoring 26 points for the Latvians.
Nymburk, both teams looked hapless in the first period, turning over the ball
time and again, and missing easy opportunities under the baskets.
poor play meant that Jerusalem and Nymburk combined for a mere 23 points in the
first 10 minutes, with the Czechs leading 12-11.
Hapoel took the lead at
the start of the second period, but a back-and-forth quarter ensued and the
visitors led 34-31 at halftime after Nymburk’s Israeli guard Afik Nissim scored
at the buzzer.
A Yogev Ohayon three-pointer just over three minutes into
the second half gave Hapoel a 45-37 margin, but Jerusalem would completely lose
its way once more after that.
Nymburk ended the third quarter with a 15-6
run and led 55-53 with 10 minutes left.
It took Jerusalem almost four
minutes to score its first points of the fourth frame and by that stage the
Czech champion was ahead by double figures, with Ladislav Sokolovsky’s lay-up
opening a 63-53 cushion.
Hapoel looked powerless but continued to fight
and Brian Randle’s free-throws brought it within four points (67-63) with just
over two minutes to play.
However, Katash’s men couldn’t complete the
comeback and dropped to a disappointing defeat.