Hapoel Jerusalem eases past Afula on the way to Croatia

Hapoel Jerusalem eases p

Hapoel Jerusalem's squad will be brimming with confidence as it leaves for Croatia for Tuesday's crucial Eurocup game against KK Zadar after claiming an easy 109-86 victory over Hapoel Afula at the Malha Arena on Saturday night. Jerusalem, which can take a significant step towards the last 16 of the Eurocup with a victory in the Balkans, led throughout Saturday's home game and improved its record to 6-2 in the BSL. Guy Goodes's men opened a double-digit margin in the first period and all but clinched the win by halftime, taking a 55-35 lead into the break. "We made the game easy," Goodes said. "We are in good shape, but we need to continue to work hard and remain modest. We are entering a very difficult and important period of the season." Tre Simmons led Hapoel with 20 points in 26 minutes, with Leo Lyons adding 19 points and Brandon Hunter contributing 18 points and nine rebounds. Jermaine Hall and Gur Porat scored 20 and 17 points, respectively, for the newly-promoted Afula, which falls to 4-4 on the season. Four more BSL games will be played on Sunday. Maccabi Tel Aviv will be looking to improve to 8-0 in league play after Thursday's disappointing Euroleague defeat to Caja Laboral Vitoria, with Hapoel Holon and Ironi Ramat Gan hoping to finally claim their first wins of the season. Maccabi visits Ironi Ashkelon, which lost to Afula last week. "The game in Ashkelon will be very difficult," said Maccabi center Yaniv Green. Holon hosts the improving Bnei Hasharon, with Ramat Gan visiting Maccabi Haifa, which has won four straight league games. Also Sunday, Maccabi Rishon Lezion welcomes Ironi Nahariya. Barak Netanya visits Hapoel Gilboa/Galil on Monday.