Hapoel J'lem faces elimination after loss to Budivelnik

Reds outscored 10-0 in the final two minutes in Ukraine and seem certain to be knocked out in Eurocup regular season yet again.

Hapoel Jerusalem 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Jerusalem 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Jerusalem is on the brink of failing to reach the Eurocup Last 16 for a third straight year after dropping to a 1-3 record in Group A on Wednesday night following an 84-77 defeat at Budivelnik Kiev.
Jerusalem finally recorded its first win in the competition last week, beating Kiev at Malha Arena, but it was outscored 10-0 in the final two minutes in Ukraine on Wednesday and seems certain to be knocked out in the regular season yet again.
“This is a painful defeat because we were in a good position to claim a win,” said Jerusalem coach Sharon Drucker.
“The guys gave their all but some strange calls by the refs ended the game for us.”
Drucker’s team looked lost at the start of the encounter in Kiev, with the hosts opening the night with a 10-0 run. However, the Reds showed some fighting spirit and Jacob Pullen’s three-pointer capped a 15-0 surge which gave the visitors a two-point edge (19-17).
Hapoel maintained the slender lead until the end of the first quarter (26-24) and a tight second period finished with Kiev holding a two-point advantage (46-44).
The hosts remained in front throughout the third period, but it was anyone’s game with 10 minutes to play, with Jerusalem only down by four points (62-58).
Hapoel’s Courtney Fells caught fire at the start of the fourth quarter, giving his team a 75-72 lead with his 12th point of the frame.
Jerusalem still had a one point lead (77-76) with two minutes left, but the visitors would fail to score another point until the final buzzer on the way to another dejecting defeat.
Pullen had 22 points for Jerusalem, with Fells adding 19 points and nine rebounds.
Malcolm Delaney had 22 points for Kiev, which improved to 2-2.
Also Wednesday, Maccabi Haifa improved to 5-2 in the BSL, beating Maccabi Ashdod 80-74 on the road in a game which was postponed due to the rocket fire from Gaza.
Haifa had a one-point lead (43-42) after a close-fought first half and the Greens extended the gap to double digits (57-46) midway through the third period.
Ashdod closed back to within two points by the start of the final frame (63-61), but Haifa never lost control and held on for a third straight win.
Paul Stoll led five Haifa players in double figures with 25 points, with Pat Calathes adding 14 points and seven boards.
Diamon Simpson had 21 points and seven rebounds for Ashdod, which dropped to 1-5 and was playing without both Kenny Gabriel and Chris Allen who left Israel last week due to the security situation.