With Jerusalem being gifted so few free points, the hosts remained in control throughout the night.
By ALLON SINAI
Hapoel Jerusalem’s Eurocup campaign ended in frustrating fashion on Wednesday night in Berlin.Jerusalem entered the return leg of its Eurocup quarterfinal against Alba Berlin with a six-point margin (67-61) from the first game at Malha Arena last week.However, Guy Goodes’s team fell to an early double-digit deficit on Wednesday and dropped to a 72-59 loss, ending its dream of reaching the last four of the competition.Alba’s defense was the key to its victory, with the Germans holding Hapoel to just seven points in the first period to open a 20-7 lead from which they never looked back.Berlin committed just five turnovers throughout the game, and with Jerusalem being gifted so few free points, the hosts remained in control throughout the night to claim a victory by the required margin.Pooh Jeter led Hapoel with 19 points, five rebounds and four assists, with Tre Simmons adding 10 points.Derrick Byars had 16 points for Alba, with Adam Chubb scoring 14 points, 10 of them in the fourth quarter.AdvertisementHapoel began the game with a Kevinn Pinkney three-pointer, but the hosts answered with a 9-0 run and seized control.Immanuel McElroy’s basket gave Berlin a 9-3 lead and with Byars doing as he pleased against the Jerusalem defense, the margin would quickly mushroom.Byars’s 10th point of the night opened a double-digit gap (18-7) and Berlin led 20-7 after 10 minutes.Hapoel finally began to find its range at the beginning of the second period, with a Simmons three cutting the deficit to six points (26-20).However, the visitors would come no closer in the first half and Berlin pulled ahead once more.Blagota Sekulic’s lay-up opened a 36-24 margin, but Jeter kept Hapoel in contention at half-time after scoring the final four points of the second period (36-28).Dragan Dojcin extended the Germans lead to double-figures yet again with a three at the start of the second half and Berlin was comfortably ahead throughout the period.Steffen Hamann’s triple to end the quarter gave Alba a 15-point gap(52-37), its biggest of the game, but Jerusalem got the fourth frameoff to a fast start and closed to within nine points.A Jeter three was followed by another long-range effort by Simmons andHapoel suddenly found itself only four points away from advancing tothe semis (54-45).However, the hosts quickly increased their advantage and were ahead by 10 points or more for most of the quarter.Jeter’s basket with 2:07 to play cut the margin to just eight points(63-55), two points from sending the tie to overtime, but Jerusalemcould not cut the lead any further and its European season ended inbitter disappointment in the German capital.
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