ULEB Cup: Hapoel J'lem smashes Unics Kazan

Timmy Bowers shoots 24 points, Sharon Sason scores 18 as Hapoel records 107-68 victory.

Hapoel Jerusalem 224.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Jerusalem 224.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
All the pieces fell into place for Hapoel Jerusalem on Tuesday night, with the team thrashing Unics Kazan 107-68 in the ULEB Cup at the Malha Arena. After a disappointing start to the season, which saw the team split its first two European games and lose two of its three BSL encounters, Hapoel dominated the court on Tuesday, seizing the initiative from the first whistle. "We played very well and were very energetic," Jerusalem coach Dan Shamir said after the game. "We've had some difficult days recently and we wanted to leave everything out on court tonight." Jerusalem, which scored a stunning 15 of 24 from three-point range, led by 10 points after 10 minutes and all but clinched the win with a 29-12 second period. "We came with the right intensity and had the right attitude tonight and it showed," said Jamie Arnold, who led Hapoel with 28 points and six rebounds in 31 minutes on court. Timmy Bowers added 24 points and six assists, with Sharon Sason scoring 18 points, hitting five of five from three-point range. Dror Hajaj played 35 minutes, more than any other player, and his six points, seven assists, six rebounds and infectious defensive play were key to the team's blowout victory. Kazan only had two players in double-figures, with Jerry McCullough leading the side with 18 points. Bowers' three-pointer four minutes into the game gave the hosts a 16-10 lead and Arnold's buzzer beater from an offensive rebound at the end of the first period extended the advantage to 10 points (23-13). Two straight three's by Sharon Sason capped a 22-3 run for Hapoel and the team opened an unassailable lead as early as the start of the second quarter (35-13). Unbelievably, matters would continue to get worse for the supposedly strong Russian team, with Bowers scoring Jerusalem's last five points of the half to give his side a 52-25 lead. Bowers and Arnold, who combined for 32 points in the first half, continued to score at will at the start of the third period and an Arnold dunk midway through the quarter increased the margin to 31 points (63-32). Jerusalem ended the third quarter ahead by 30 points (73-43), but the lead would amazingly continue to grow and Hajaj's three with two minutes remaining in the game opened a 40 point margin. Hapoel Galil Elyon claimed its first win of the season on Tuesday night, defeating Antwerp Giants 93-83 to end a six game losing streak. Galil, which improves to 1-2 in the ULEB Cup, had four players in double-figures on Tuesday, with Doron Sheffer playing his best game since returning to Kfar Blum in the summer, scoring seven points and stealing five balls. Mike Campbell, Clif Brown and Gili Mosinzon each scored 19 points, with new signing Or Eitan adding 16 points. Kris Sergeant led the losers with 24 points and five rebounds. "It's good to win. It took us a while," Galil coach Elo Kaneti said after the game. "I'm happy to finally claim a win and I hope this will give our players some confidence and belief in their abilities." A 7-0 run at the start of the game gave the hosts a 9-5 lead and Galil ended the first period ahead by four points (20-16). Campbell's basket from beyond the arc put Hapoel up by seven points (41-34) at the interval and another three by Eitan gave the team a 52-36 advantage. The third quarter ended in a 72-55 Galil lead and the hosts wouldn't be denied their first win of the campaign.