Eurochallenge Hoops: Hapoel Jerusalem falls in shock defeat to Amsterdam

Jerusalem struggles against the clever game plan of Amsterdam's Israeli coach Arik Shibak.

arik Shibak 248.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
arik Shibak 248.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Jerusalem got its EuroChallenge campaign off to the worst possible start on Wednesday night, suffering an 83-81 home loss to MyGuide Amsterdam. Jerusalem lacked the intensity which saw it claim impressive victories against Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa over the last week, and struggled mightily against the clever game plan of Amsterdam's Israeli coach Arik Shibak. "I had a feeling this would happen," Hapoel coach Guy Goodes said. "We weren't mentally ready and we knew our excellent run would end some time." Goodes's team never found its scoring touch on Wednesday, only hitting 16 of 42 shots from two-point range, while Shibak's side scored 28 of its 42 attempts. "This is a very exciting victory for Dutch basketball," Shibak said. "My players did a wonderful job tonight. It's always great to come back to Israel, especially when you win in Jerusalem." Timmy Bowers and Sharon Sasson each scored 20 points for Hapoel, with Avis Wyatt and Teddy Gipson scoring 27 and 19, respectively, for the visitors. Amsterdam opened an early 11-3 lead and remained in front until the break. A Wyatt alley-oop to end the first half gave the team a 39-37 advantage, but an excellent start to the third saw Hapoel take its first lead of the night. Five straight Sasson points gave the hosts a 43-41 lead, and Hapoel was ahead by six points (52-46) with four minutes to play in the quarter after an Omar Sneed lay-up. Sneed finished with 15 points. Within 90 seconds, however, the visitors were back on level terms, and Jerusalem only had a one -point margin (60-59) with 10 minutes to play. Five straight points to start of the fourth gave Amsterdam a crucial gap, which Hapoel managed to cut, but never to erase. Bowers squandered a chance to tie the score from the free-throw line with just over a minute to play, and Moran Rot missed a three-pointer at the buzzer, sparking celebrations on the Amsterdam bench and complicating Hapoel's situation in Group E.