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Hapoel Jerusalem forward Lior Eliyahu had 19 points and seven rebounds in last night’s 98-76 win over Nizhny Novgorod in Eurocup Top 16 action at the Jerusalem Arena.(Photo by: DANNY MAROM)
Jerusalem cruises past Nizhny to improve to 2-0
Hapoel claims 22-point win over Russians behind Jerrells and Jones, climbs to 1st place in Group G.
Hapoel Jerusalem remained perfect in the Eurocup Top 16 on Wednesday, claiming an impressive 98-76 win over Nizhny Novgorod of Russia to climb to first place with a 2-0 record.

Jerusalem began Group G in ideal fashion last week, coming back from 20 points down to claim an 80-76 win at Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius in Lithuania. It got off to a slow start at the Jerusalem Arena on Wednesday, trailing by five points (22-17) after the first quarter.

The hosts bounced back in a big way though, going on a 17-3 run to seize control (38- 28). Lior Eliyahu’s basket to end the first half opened an 11-point gap (46-35) and the game was as good as over after Jerusalem scored the first nine points of the second half to take its lead to 20 points (55-35).

Curtis Jerrells and Shawn Jones had 21 points each for Hapoel, which hit 34-of-55 shots from two-point range (61.8 percent), registering 27 assists. Eliyahu added 19 points, with Yotam Halperin finishing with 11 assists as well as five points.

DeAndre Kane scored 19 points, 14 of them in the first quarter, for Nizhny, which fell to 1-1.

Jerusalem also faces Zenit St.

Petersburg of Russia in Group G, with the top two teams to advance to the quarterfinals.

Zenit moved to 1-1 on Wednesday, beating Vilnius 88-79. With each team only playing six games in total, every win is significant, as is the margin of victory, lending additional importance to the emphatic triumph over Nizhny.

“We played excellent team basketball,” said Eliyahu. “You don’t expect to win by such a margin in the Top 16 and we deserve a lot of credit.

This margin is significant and gives us an important boost. We need to continue this way and next week we have a very difficult game in St. Petersburg. We are in an excellent position at the moment, but every game is very important and we need to build on this.”

Elsewhere Wednesday, Maccabi Rishon Lezion suffered an 81-71 defeat at Avtodor Saratov in Russia, falling to 5-7 in FIBA Champions League Group B.

Rishon dropped into a threeway tie for fifth place with Saratov and Oradea of Romania, one game back of Kataja of Finland in fourth place.

Each team has two more regular season games to play, with the top four teams from each group and the four best ranked fifth-placed teams to progress to the playoffs.

Javon McCrea had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Rishon, with Patrick Richard adding 18 points and 10 boards. Evgeny Kolesnikov led Sarataov with 23 points.

On Tuesday, Ironi Nahariya remained alive in Group A, improving to 4-8 with a 69-60 win at Domzale in Slovenia.
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