Eurochallenge: Hap Jerusalem crashes out of Europe

J'lem loses 79-70 in Germany to EWE Baskets Oldenburg.

HAPOEL JERUSALEM sneed 248.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Jerusalem crashed out of the EuroChallenge in humbling fashion on Tuesday night, losing 79-70 in Germany to EWE Baskets Oldenburg. With MyGuide Amsterdam defeating Larissa at home (68-64), Jerusalem had to beat Oldenburg to advance in European basketball's third-tier competition, but played extremely poorly in Germany and can have no complaints. The team may be leading the BSL with an impressive 8-1 record, but it was erratic throughout its continental campaign, losing twice at home and falling to an inferior team on Tuesday in a game it knew it had to win. "We made some mistakes, especially on defense," Hapoel coach Guy Goodes said. "We couldn't execute on offense and Oldenburg ran very well. "It's very tough to play on Sunday and then on Tuesday. The players were very tired tonight, but there's not much you can do, you have to play." Roger Powell scored 15 points and took 10 rebounds, with Omar Sneed adding 15 points and seven boards. Travis Watson contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds for Hapoel, which turned over the ball 21 times and hit just 6 of 22 attempts from beyond the arc (27.2%). Jasmin Perkovic scored 21 points for Oldenburg, which shot 74.1 percent from two-point range (23 of 31). Hapoel turned the ball over four times in its first five possessions and a Ricky Paulding dunk gave the hosts a 13-4 lead. An 11-3 run to end the first period, however, made sure Jerusalem, which finished behind Amsterdam because of an inferior head-to-head record, was in front after 10 minutes (16-15). Poor perimeter defending by Hapoel in the second quarter allowed Oldenburg to regain the lead, with a Marko Scekic three-pointer opening a 26-20 advantage. The visitors were never too far behind, though, and a Watson basket tied the score at 34-34 at the break. Scoring continued to be an issue for both sides in the second half, but a slightly more composed Oldenburg took a 54-50 gap into the fourth period. The hosts extended the margin to 65-56 four minutes into the fourth quarter following another turnover, and Hapoel was beginning to lose touch with the Germans. A Daniel Hain lay-up midway through the quarter increased the lead to a record 13 points (69-56) and Jerusalem's European season came to an end. Also Tuesday, Bnei Hasharon ended its participation in the Eurocup on a sweet note, defeating Aris Thessaloniki 89-86 in Ra'anana to knock the Greeks out of the competition. "I'm very proud of my players," Bnei Hasharon coach Ariel Beit-Halachmi said. "We spoke to the players and told them that we need to respond to ULEB's decision on the court and make them feel uncomfortable by winning." Bnei Hasharon lost all hope of advancing from its group after ULEB punished the team with a 20-0 technical loss following last week's terrifying experience in Ankara, Turkey when some 3,000 hostile fans stormed the court moments before the tip-off of the encounter against Turk Telekom. Aris was the more composed team at the start of the game and opened an 18-10 lead. The hosts, however, would answer with a 23-3 run, capped by a Richard Roby basket. Bnei Hasharon led 41-32 at the break and remained comfortably in front until the final minute of the game. Dimitrios Tsaldaris, who scored 29 points in the game, hit three triples in the last 60 seconds and brought his team within a single point (86-85) with eight seconds to play, but the hosts held on for the win. Roby led Bnei Hasharon with 21 points, with Meir Tapiro adding 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.