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Mario Austin scored 43 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Meir Tapiro finished one assist short of a triple-double on Sunday night to lead Hapoel Jerusalem to a 91-83 overtime win at Elitzur Ashkelon in BSL Matchday 12.
Austin, whose previous domestic season-high was 25 points, hadn't made a three-pointer all season until his trifecta with eight seconds left in regulation put Hapoel up 76-74. But Brandon Kurtz tipped in Alvin Snow's miss with one second remaining to force overtime.
Austin drilled back-to-back threes during overtime to tie the score at 80 and then put the visitors ahead for good as Jerusalem improved to 9-2. The capital city hoopsters remained two games behind perennial champion Maccabi Tel Aviv, which dumped last-place Maccabi Givat Shmuel 100-73.
Maccabi Rishon remained in third after defeating Ramat Hasharon 86-67 and Bnei Hasharon inched away from the relegation zone with a 101-86 victory at Hapoel Galil Elyon-Golan.
Austin, who shot 17-for-23 from the field, was as cool as a Jerusalem winter night afterwards when asked about his super performance. "I haven't been known for making threes, but someone had to and I wound up with the ball with about 10 seconds left so I shot it," he told reporters.
The game was Jerusalem's first since guards Tapiro and Horace Jenkins clashed on the court last week in a league game against Bnei Hasharon. Tapiro, who usually comes off the bench, started in place of the injured Roger Mason Jr. and posted 13 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, although he shot only 3-for-14. Jenkins scored 23, but also struggled with his shooting, making 2-of-10 threes and going 7-of-12 from the charity stripe.
Mason, who sprained an ankle in practice on Friday, is expected to be fit for the team's ULEB Cup eighth-final, first-leg match against Belgian champ Euphony Bree on Wednesday. The team is scheduled to fly to Belgium on Monday.
Brian Tolbert led Ashkelon with 19 and Brandon Kurtz added 17 points and nine rebounds.
Maccabi Rishon 86, Ramat Hasharon 67
Or Eitan led five Rishon players in double figures with 23 points as the hosts won their sixth straight game. Eitan drilled five three-pointers and scored 12 points in the final seven minutes to secure the win after Ramat Hasharon cut the gap to 10 points.
John Gilchrist added 17 and Lee Mathews 16 points and 10 rebounds for Rishon. Jeremy Veal led Ramat Hasharon with 17.
Hapoel Tel Aviv defeated Ironi Ramat Gan 80-66 in a game played on Saturday night. Ironi Nahariya has a bye week.
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