Hapoel Jerusalem stormed back from a 15-point, third-quarter deficit Sunday to record a 91-87 road win over last-place Maccabi Givat Shmuel in a BSL Matchday 11 game Sunday night.
Jerusalem point guard Horace Jenkins scored 12 of his 21 points in the final 17 minutes - after his team trailed 61-46.
The hosts led for the bulk of the game, but fell apart in the final quarter, committing seven turnovers and shooting 2-for-10 from the field, as Jerusalem came back and pulled away.
With the win, Jerusalem improves to 7-2 and will move into second place in the standings after facing Bnei Hasharon on Tuesday in a make-up game from Matchday 9. Even with a loss, Jerusalem will overtake Maccabi Rishon by virtue of the tiebreaker between them.
In the meantime, Rishon is in second place for another 24 hours following a convincing 85-62 win over Ironi Ramat Gan. Also on Sunday, Ironi Nahariya defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv 79-69 and Ramat Hasharon edged Elitzur Ashkelon 79-77.
Maccabi Tel Aviv hosts Hapoel Galil Elyon Golan on Monday evening at Nokia Arena in the lone remaining game.
At Or Yehuda, Givat Shmuel was the hungrier side early on and built a 47-35 lead midway through the second quarter behind the outside shooting of Oren Aharoni and inside play of Wayne Wallace. Jenkins stepped up with the last four points of the period to close the gap to 51-44 at halftime.
Yuval Naimi, a former Jerusalem poster boy, gave Givat Shmuel its biggest lead with a jumper early in the second quarter. Jenkins, aided by Matan Naor and Erez Marckovich, pushed Jerusalem back into the game, but the home team remained ahead until early in the fourth on a Marckovich basket (73-72). Dror Cohen answered to put Givat Shmuel back on top, but it would be only temporary as Hapoel went on a 10-2 run to seize control.
With two minutes left, a pair of Aharoni free throws got Givat Shmuel within three, but Roger Mason Jr. drilled a three-pointer on the ensuing possession to kill the hosts' momentum.
Marckovich added 16 and Mason and Mario Austin 13 each for Jerusalem.
Timmy Bowers had 21 points and six assists and Naimi 20 in defeat.
Jerusalem, Mac TA avoid each other in Cup semis
During halftime in Rishon Lezion, the Israel Basketball Association held the draw for the State Cup semifinals, scheduled to take place on February 16 at Nokia Arena.
To the delight of many fans, the top two teams - Hapoel Jerusalem and Maccabi Tel Aviv - avoided each other and remain on pace to clash in the final.
Instead, Jerusalem will meet Bnei Hasharon, a finalist last season, while Maccabi Tel Aviv faces Galil.