Eilat sends Jerusalem to first defeat

Hapoel Jerusalem forward Lior Eliyahu (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Hapoel Jerusalem forward Lior Eliyahu
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
A Brian Asbury lay-up with one second to play ended Hapoel Jerusalem’s perfect start to the BSL season on Sunday night, giving Hapoel Eilat a dramatic 87-85 win at the Jerusalem Arena.
Jerusalem had opened the campaign with a club record nine straight wins, but it failed to overcome a gritty Eilat team, which had got the season off to a shocking start.
Eilat claimed just a single victory from its first six games of the season, but has since won four of five, moving to 5-6 on Sunday with the stunning upset in Jerusalem.
Eilat got off to a flying start, taking an early 11-2 lead. Dan Shamir’s team was still ahead by eight points (25-17) after the first quarter and took a nine-point gap into the second half (46-37).
However, there was just one point separating the teams entering the final frame (64-63) and a tense finish would ensue.
Afik Nissim’s three-pointer with 1:37 minutes to play opened an eight-point cushion (85-77) and seemed to have clinched the victory for Eilat. However, the southerners handed Jerusalem a lifeline by committing turnover after turnover, with Bracey Wright’s three tying the score at 85-85 with 11 seconds remaining.
Eilat then lost the ball once more at the other end when Wyatt stepped out of bounds, gifting the hosts a chance to win. But Asbury would redeem himself by stealing Yotam Halperin’s in-bounds pass which was directed at Donta Smith and laid the ball in at the other end to give Eilat its first road win of the season.
Elishay Kadir and Adrian Uter had 18 points each for Eilat, with Khalif Wyatt and Asbury adding 17 and 16 points, respectively.
Joseph Jones and Halperin led Jerusalem with 17 points each.
On Monday, Maccabi Tel Aviv can come move within one game of Jerusalem when it visits Maccabi Rishon Lezion.
Also Monday, Hapoel Gilboa/ Galil hosts Ironi Ness Ziona and Hapoel Holon visits Hapoel Tel Aviv.