Gilboa/Galil crashes out of Euroleague

“We came so close and it is a shame we couldn’t close it out.”

Hapoel Gilboa Galil mekel 311 (photo credit: BSL)
Hapoel Gilboa Galil mekel 311
(photo credit: BSL)
Hapoel Gilboa/Galil’s Euroleague campaign came to a premature ending on Friday, but not before the reigning BSL champion put up a brave effort in Serbia.
After losing 97-84 to Hemofarm Stada Vrsac in the first leg at the Nokia Arena on Tuesday, it seemed Gilboa was all but out of the Euroleague and would have to settle for a consolation place in the group stage of the Eurocup.
However, Gilboa dominated the proceedings from the start of Friday’s return leg in Vrsac, but despite leading by 15 points with less than three minutes to play, couldn’t hold on for a famous victory, claiming a bitter 86-77 win.
“We came so close and it is a shame we couldn’t close it out,” Gilboa coach Lior Lubin said.
“We are disappointed we didn’t progress, but we end the tie with a good feeling ahead of the rest of the season.”
Jack McClinton led Gilboa with 21 points, scoring 19 of them in the first half, with Gal Mekel adding 16 points and dishing nine assists. Rodney Green scored 15 points, with Milan Macvan following up his 31-point performance for Vrsac at Nokia, with a 21-point display in the second leg.
Gilboa came out firing and led 29-19 after 10 minutes. McClinton was unstoppable and helped the visitors to a 51-39 gap at the break, just one point shy of Vrsac’s win in Tel Aviv with 20 minutes to play.
A Dagan Yavzuri three-pointer gave Galil the lead in the tie for the first time (60-45) and Hapoel had everything to play for after it took a 10-point margin (64-54) into the fourth period.
With six-and-a-half minutes to play, Gilboa held a 77-61 lead and a McClinton lay-up gave it a 82-67 advantage with under three minutes left. However, Galil would score just four more points until the end of the game, and Vrsac hit crucial freethrows to ensure its progress.