Eurocup Basketball: Goodes expects difficult task against th

Hapoel Jerusalem needs first and foremost to find a way to break down Valencia's defense

goodes brightened 298.88 (photo credit: Blake-Ezra Cole)
goodes brightened 298.88
(photo credit: Blake-Ezra Cole)

Hapoel Jerusalem faces an uphill battle in its Eurocup Last 16 group opener at Valencia in Spain on Tuesday.

Jerusalemclaimed a confidence-boosting victory over Maccabi Haifa in the BSL onSaturday, but coach Guy Goodes knows his team will have to play muchbetter if it's to triumph on Tuesday as well.

"The game against Valencia will be completely different to the one against Haifa," Goodes said.

"Valencia's roster is taller and stronger than ours so this willbe a tough challenge for us. However, the pressure will be on them andwe will try to spring a surprise."

While Jerusalem only scraped into the Last 16,Valencia, guided by former Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Neven Spahija,cruised in the first group stage, winning its first five matches beforelosing a meaningless encounter at Le Mans.

Valencia has also played well in the Spanish league, winning 13of 19 games, including an impressive 60-59 victory over Barcelona onSaturday, handing the Catalans just their second loss in allcompetitions this season.

Spahija has assembled abalanced and deep roster in Valencia. Eight players average between 20and 28 minutes on court, with Nando De Colo leading the team in scoring(12.8 ppg) and Victor Claver the side's only player to start in all sixEurocup games so far, averaging 11.5 points and leading Valencia inrebounding (5.7 rpg).

However, Jerusalem needs first and foremost to find a way tobreak down Valencia's defense, with the Spaniards holding theiropponents to just 66.2 points in their five victories in the Eurocup todate.

"We don't know much about Valencia, but I think this is a goodchance to steal a road win," Hapoel's Dijon Thompson said. "An away winwill put is in an excellent situation ahead of the rest of our groupgames."