ULEB Cup: Arnold key to Hapoel Jerusalem's success

Jerusalem travels to Poland on a role, Galil Elyon needs a win.

Hapoel Jerusalem 298.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Jerusalem 298.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Jerusalem will look to continue its rich vein of form on Tuesday night when it visits Turow Zgorzelec of Poland in the ULEB Cup, while fellow Israeli side Hapoel Galil Elyon will try and climb off the bottom of Group E on Tuesday with a win over Swiss champion Benetton Fribourg. Jerusalem, which has won four straight games in all competitions, can take sole possession of first place in Group I with a road victory. Zgorzelec recorded an impressive 80-75 win over Unics Kazan in Russia last week and has done surprisingly well in its first ever appearance in European competition. The Poles have held their opponents to just 67.8 points per game so far in the ULEB Cup and score an impressive 61 percent from the two-point range. Hapoel, on the other hand, has won its games thanks to its superb offense, scoring an average 89.8 ppg. Besides being the third best scoring side in the competition, Jerusalem is also tied for first place from two point range (62 percent) and leads all teams from beyond the arc (49%). Despite the impressive stats, Hapoel coach Dan Shamir was upset ahead of Tuesday's game and voiced his frustration with his team's traveling arrangements after Jerusalem's win over Ironi Nahariya on Sunday. "Nowhere in Europe does a team play a league game on Sunday and leave four hours later for a long road trip," Shamir said. "You can't prepare for the games properly this way. The people responsible for this should do something about it. It's an outrage." David Logan leads Zgrozelec in points (16.8 ppg) and minutes (37 mpg) and will be the main threat on Tuesday. Thomas Kelati (15.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg), Slobodan Ljubotina (8.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg), Dragisa Drobnjak (7.8 ppg) and Andres Rodriguez (6.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg) complete the Poles starting lineup and together with Marko Scekic (9.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg) have scored 86% of their team's points so far. Hapoel maintained its position at the top of Group I last week, snatching an 84-83 victory over Zadar. Jamie Arnold's 26 points and 13 rebounds weren't only pivotal in the victory, but also earned him the ULEB Cup player of the week award for a second straight week. Arnold (23.5 ppg, 7 rpg, 72% from the field) and Timmy Bowers (14.3 ppg, 4 apg, 3 rpg) have been Jerusalem's most consistent players, but the key to victory in the side's last two ULEB Cup games has been Dror Hajaj. The Israeli guard has averaged 12.5 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals since Shamir handed him the playmakers role. Galil Elyon welcomes Fribourg to Kfar Blum. Despite winning two straight games in the BSL and also getting off the mark in the ULEB Cup with a win over the Antwerp Giants, Galil has still got plenty of ground to make up. Hapoel was hammered 93-68 by KK Buducnost last week, while Fribourg surprised Triumph Lyubertsy 78-77. The Swiss have an extremely short roster and have only used eight players in the competition so far. The team's starting lineup averages between 26 and 38 minutes on court and also contributes proportionally. Ken Johnson ( 19.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 4.8 bpg), David Esterkamp (18 ppg, 7.5 rpg), Pascal David-Perrier (10.5 ppg, 5.5 apg), Marcus Sloan (9.3 ppg, 5 rpg) and Tresor Quidome (7.3 ppg) usually make up the side's starting five and play far more than any of the other roster members. Gili Mosinzon will hope to build on his 28 point and 17 rebound performance in Sunday's BSL victory over Ironi Ramat Gan. Mosinzon has also been key to the team in the ULEB Cup, averaging 14.8 points and three rebounds per game. Galil will also need Clif Brown (19.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg) and Mike Campbell (14.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg) to be their reliable selves to have any chance of clinching what could prove to be a vital win in its chase of continental success.