Gravelines lays a beating on Hapoel again

Jerusalem’s advancement hopes in big trouble after 97-74 road loss drops record to 1-3.

Yuval Naimi of Hapoel Jerusalem 311 (photo credit: Haim Tzah/Hapoel Jerusalem website)
Yuval Naimi of Hapoel Jerusalem 311
(photo credit: Haim Tzah/Hapoel Jerusalem website)
Hapoel Jerusalem’s Eurocup future hangs by a thread after the Reds suffered a humbling 97-74 defeat at BCM Gravelines in France on Tuesday.
Jerusalem needed a win in France to keep its fate in its own hands, but was out of its depth from the start, being outscored 27-13 in the first period and never coming close to mounting a comeback.
Hapoel dropped to 1-3 with the defeat, but it still holds a slender chance of overhauling BC Donetsk and finishing in the top two in Group A to advance to the last 16.
Donetsk held on for a tight 78-76 win over Cibona Zagreb in Croatia on Tuesday, with two free throws by point guard Vule Avdalovic with just nine seconds remaining and a Hrvoje Kovacevic miss at the buzzer ensuring the Ukrainians improved to a 3-1 record.
However, a Jerusalem win by at least 10 points when it hosts Donetsk next week at Malha Arena will keep alive its hopes of advancing as it will ensure the Israelis hold the tiebreaker over the Ukrainians, which beat Hapoel 80-71 when the teams met in their group opener.
But for the tiebreaker to have any importance Hapoel will also need to defeat Cibona in Zagreb in its final group game and for Gravelines, which already secured its place in the next round on Tuesday, to do it a big favor and beat the Ukrainians on the road.
It could have all been different had Hapoel won in France on Tuesday, but it never looked capable of doing so, being outplayed by Gravelines for a second straight week.
Hapoel scored the first four points of the night, but the hosts replied with a 14-2 run to seize control.
There was only going to be one outcome to the game after the Frenchmen took a 14-point cushion into the second period, with Hapoel failing to even close within single-digits for the remainder of the game, trailing 51-33 at the break.
The second half was pure garbage time, giving Jerusalem plenty of time to mull over what looks set to be another early exit from continental competition.
Elishay Kadir and Brian Randle were the only Jerusalem players who performed anywhere near their best, scoring 14 and 11 points, respectively, for the Reds, who had 19 turnovers.
Rudy Jomby led five Gravelines players in double-figures with 23 points, while Juan-Khalif Edwards scored 12 points for the Frenchmen, who were once more outstanding offensively and have won their four games in the Eurocup so far by an average 23.5 points.