Khimki tops Jerusalem, Haifa squeaks by Riga

Reds drop second-straight continental contest to fall to .500; Greens secure advancement.

Maccabi Haifa clinched a berth in the Eurocup Last 32 on Wednesday night with a dramatic win over VEF Riga, while Hapoel Jerusalem was left with plenty of work to do after losing to Khimki Moscow in Russia.
Ike Ofoegbu’s tip-in with 0.7 seconds remaining on the clock gave Haifa a 74- 72 win against Riga at Romema Arena, improving the team’s record to 6-2, with both of Maccabi’s losses coming against the still undefeated Unics Kazan.
Less than 48 hours after claiming a memorable BSL win over Maccabi Tel Aviv, Jerusalem gave Russian powerhouse Khimki a run for its money for 35 minutes before running out of steam and falling to an 85-73 loss.
Despite its third defeat in its past four Eurocup games, Hapoel remained in third place in Group E, which would see it advance to the next round. However, it dropped to a 4-4 record, just one game ahead of CSU Pioiesti (3-5) and Academic Sofia (3-5) with two more games to play.
Jerusalem visits Pioiesti in Romania next week before hosting Karsiyaka Izmir (5-3) in its final regular season contest the following week.
At Romema, Haifa raced into an early double-digit lead (15-5) after Moran Roth’s first points of the night and the Israeli playmaker scored five more to end the first period, opening a 13-point gap (24-11).
Dagan Yavzuri caught fire in the second quarter, scoring 10 points off the bench, and Donta Smith’s basket took the margin to a record 18 points (45- 27), before the visitors scored the final two points of the first half (45-29).
However, Haifa failed to kill off the game in the third period, with costly turnovers allowing Riga to close within eight points (56-48) with 10 minutes to play.
A 13-2 run, capped by a Kenan Bajramovic basket, completed Riga’s comeback, giving the visitors a 61-60 advantage with 6:27 to play.
The game would go back-and-forth after that, but Haifa would have the final laugh after Ofoegbu placed himself perfectly to tip-in Smith’s missed attempt.
Yavzuri and Brian Randle led Haifa with 16 points each, with Smith and Ofoegbu scoring 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Kristaps Janicenoks had 17 points for Riga.
In Moscow, an 11-2 run by Khimki saw it open a 15-point gap (34-19) in the second quarter, but points by Lior Eliyahu and Yotam Halperin saw the visitors limit the damage by the break and close to within nine points (43-34).
Hapoel continued to eat away at the deficit in the third frame, with Halperin’s three-pointer giving the team a 58-56 lead.
Jerusalem was within one possession (61-58) at the start of the fourth quarter, but ultimately couldn’t keep pace with the hosts, who improved to 7-1.
Halperin and Artsiom Parakhouski had 19 points each for Jerusalem, with Eliyahu scoring 18. Paul Davis had 22 points to lead Khimki.