Hapoel J'lem crushes Kiev to keep hopes alive

Eurocup: Jerusalem essentially clinched win by outscoring Kiev 27- 15 in the second quarter to take a 16-point gap into the break.

Sharon Drucker 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Sharon Drucker 311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Jerusalem remained in the hunt for a place in the Eurocup Last 16 on Wednesday, beating Budivelnik Kiev 81-67 at Malha Arena for its first continental win of the season.
Jerusalem dropped to 0-2 in Group A last week after losing at home by 17 points to CEZ Nymburk of the Czech Republic, but bounced back with a promising display on Wednesday.
Jerusalem essentially clinched the win by outscoring Kiev 27- 15 in the second quarter to take a 16-point gap (49-33) into the break.
“We still have a chance of advancing, especially as we won by a big margin,” said Hapoel coach Sharon Drucker, whose team maintained full control in the second half.
“We stayed alive and the guys deserve every credit for their excellent work.”
Craig Smith led Jerusalem with 18 points, while Josh Duncan scored 17 and Raviv Limonad added 13 points for Hapoel, which outrebounded the Ukrainians 49-26.
“This is just our first win and hopefully we can play even better next week because we will need to do so to beat Kiev on the road,” said Meir Tapiro, who ended the night with nine points and five assists.
“This team is taking time to gel, but as long we have a chance we will fight for it.”
Former Jerusalem player Leo Lyons led Kiev with 18 points.
Hapoel Holon improved to 2-1 in EuroChallenge Group H on Wednesday, defeating Antwerp Giants 88-64.
Holon was down by 10 points (53-43) with less than three minutes to play in the third quarter, but turned the game on its head with a stunning 33-3 run (76-56).
Jerome Dyson and Sean Daniel led six Holon players in double-figures with 18 points.
Bryan Hopkins had 16 points for Antwerp.
Maccabi Tel Aviv left for Italy on Wednesday ahead of Friday’s Euroleague game against Montepaschi Siena, giving its foreign players a much-needed breather from the security situation in Israel.
Guard David Logan decided to send his wife and daughter back to the US for a break, with Devin Smith also considering flying his family back home.
“I’m trying not to think too much about all that is going on and focus on my job at Maccabi,” Smith said.
“My family is here but we feel okay. We believe that nothing will happen to us so we continue to pray that our situation will be okay.
“My wife is a strong person and she doesn’t want to leave unless I leave so she’s not going anywhere.”