Euro Hoops: Hap J'lem coach wary of Siauliai in Eurocup opener

Euro Hoops Hap Jlem co

Hapoel Jerusalem will look to get the Eurocup group stage off to a winning start when it hosts Lithuania's BC Siauliai at the Malha Arena on Tuesday. Jerusalem, which got the better of Roanne of France in the qualifying round, also faces Greece's Aris Thessaloniki and Croatia's KK Zadar in Group C, with the top two teams from the group to advance to the next stage. Guy Goodes's team will be entering Tuesday's game on the back of a painful 84-72 BSL defeat at Barak Netanya on Saturday. Hapoel was without the suspended Dijon Thompson and the injured Sharon Sasson in Netanya. Thompson will be back for Tuesday's encounter, but the Israeli forward is not expected to recover in time. Goodes has also got off-court issues to deal with. American forward Brandon Hunter will face an internal disciplinary committee later this week after it was revealed he stayed out until 3am on the night prior to the Netanya game. "Siauliai is an excellent Lithuanian team, the third best in the country after Rytas and Zalgiris," Goodes said. "Siauliai is maybe unknown to some but they are strong, with great shooters and great defense. Every game in this competition is a cup final and of course that goes for the first home game as well. "We have to be at our best to win this encounter because every game that we lose means that our chances to qualify to the last 16 will be slimmer. In our group every one of the four teams can advance." Thompson, who was handed a $3,000 fine by the club for his ejection against Bnei Hasharon two weeks ago, is hoping the short preparation time for Tuesday's game will not prove to be too costly. "Experience is very important in this competition and you need nerves to succeed," he said. "Siauliai is a tough side to beat, and it is obvious that the less you know about a team, the more dangerous it is.