ULEB Cup: Hap J'lem dealt another hefty blow

Dan Shamir's side loses 103-75 in Croatia reducing chances of qualifying from group stages.

dan shamir 88 (photo credit: )
dan shamir 88
(photo credit: )
Hapoel Jerusalem will need to defeat Polish side Turow Zgorzelec next week and for other results to go its way if it's to avoid an early exit from the ULEB Cup. Jerusalem was thrashed 103-75 by Zadar in Croatia on Tuesday night, a week after being humbled by 53 points at Unics Kazan. Without star center Jamie Arnold, who is still recovering from a knee injury, and without Sharon Sasson, who hurt his hand in the team's BSL loss to Ironi Ashkelon on Saturday, Hapoel had no real chance against an organized and balanced Zadar side. Jerusalem's next opponent, Zgorzelec, defeated Kazan 73-68 on Tuesday, and is 8-1 in the group stage. Hapoel, which is now 0-10 on the road in all competitions this season, needs to finish among the top three teams in the group or be among the five best fourth-place sides overall to qualify for the elimination rounds. Julius Johnson scored 17 points for the winners, with Corey Brewer and Andrej Stimac each adding 13 points. Noel Felix led Jerusalem with 20 points and Guy Pnini scored 15. Two points by Johnson capped an early 9-0 Zadar run, which gave the hosts a 10 points lead (15-5). Ramel Curry's basket brought Jerusalem back within four points (17-13), but a 12-0 run by Zadar opened a 29-13 advantage. The hosts maintained their 16 point margin until the end of the first period (33-17), but Felix's two points at the start of the second quarter closed the gap slightly (41-30). Hapoel would, however, fail to build on its good start to the period and Zadar scored 18 of the last 20 points of the first half to open an unassailable lead. Three-pointers by Johnson and baskets by Shamell Stallworth gave the hosts a 59-32 lead at the break and all but clinched the victory. For a second straight week the second half of Hapoel's ULEB Cup game was pure garbage time and Zadar, which out-rebounded Jerusalem 45-17, completed an easy win. Also Tuesday, Hapoel Galil Elyon, which has lost any chance of progressing in the ULEB Cup, snapped its five-game losing streak in the competition, defeating Montenegran side KK Buducnost 82-81 at Kfar Blum. Aaron Nixon led the team with 19 points, with Clif Brown adding 17 points. Nemanja Gordic scored 20 points for the visitors.