Hapoel Jerusalem gets rare easy European victory

Goodes: We started poorly, but eventually woke up and realized this is an important game.

timmy bowers 224 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
timmy bowers 224
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Jerusalem got its EuroChallenge campaign back on track on Wednesday, defeating Olympia Larissa 71-54 in Greece. After suffering a shock home defeat to Amsterdam last week, Jerusalem needed to return to some sort of winning ways immediately and Wednesday's result was exactly what coach Guy Goodes was hoping for. "We started the game very poorly, but we eventually woke up and the players realized this is an important game," Goodes said. "Our defense won us the game. We managed to stop them on 22 points in the second half and that made the difference." Hapoel fell behind early in Greece, but seized control of the encounter in the third period and ended up winning quite comfortably. Travis Watson scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Jerusalem, which hosts EWE Baskets Oldenburg of Germany next week. Moran Rot added 12 points for Hapoel, with Sharon Sasson getting 11 points and Timmy Bowers, Roger Powell and Omar Sneed scoring 10 points each. Larissa, which turned over the ball 19 times, had just one player in double-figures, with Michael King scoring 25 points. A King basket capped a 9-0 Larissa start to the game, but the visitors soon found their footing and a Bowers three-pointer, with just under three minutes to play, gave Hapoel a 16-12 lead. A Yuval Naimi basket gave Jerusalem a 20-17 advantage after 10 minutes, and after a tight and low scoring second quarter, Hapoel went into the break in front by a single point (33-32). The encounter remained close for the first four minutes of the second half. However, Hapoel went on to outscore the hosts 14-4 in the final six minutes of the third period to open a dominating 55-44 gap, which it easily held on to in the fourth quarter.