Katash coaches Hap J’lem to slim Eurocup victory in Belgium

Will Solomon stars in new coach's first game in charge of the side.

311_Will Solomon (photo credit: Hapoel Jerusalem website)
311_Will Solomon
(photo credit: Hapoel Jerusalem website)
Hapoel Jerusalem’s Eurocup qualifying tie against Belgacom Liege will be finely balanced entering next week’s second leg at Malha Arena after Oded Katash guided his new team to a 62-59 victory in Belgium on Tuesday night in his first game in charge of the side.
Will Solomon led Jerusalem with 15 points, with Jason Rich contributing a dozen points in a game that was tight throughout.
Cedric Bozman had 14 points for Liege, which will believe it has every chance of overturning the first leg deficit when it come to Malha next Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Maccabi Haifa’s hopes of making the group stage of the EuroChallenge suffered a significant blow on Tuesday following a 75-63 defeat at Paris Levallois.
Haifa, which hosts the second leg on October 13, trailed from the start of the game and was in serious trouble with 10 minutes to play (56-38).
However, the visitors limited the damage in the fourth quarter and their 12- point defeat leaves them with a reasonable chance ahead of the second leg.
Marco Killingsworth led Haifa with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
In Belgium, Jerusalem held a 14-13 lead after a low-scoring first period, and an 8-0 run midway through the second quarter, capped by a Solomon three-pointer, put the visitors in a strong position (26-18).
A Jason Rich jump-shot ensured Hapoel still held a significant margin (33-26) at halftime, but Liege began the second half with a 12-3 run and led 45-42 with 10 minutes to play.
A back-and-forth final frame ensued, but five Solomon points in the final minute would give Hapoel the edge ahead of next week’s return leg.