ULEB Cup: Hapoel looks for first road win

Hapoel J'lem visits French side Strasbourg while Galil Elyon travels to Austria.

Hapoel Jerusalem will be looking for a big performance by the little Dror Hajaj against Strasbourg on Tuesday night. Almost two months into the 2007/08 season and Hapoel is still searching for its first road win of the campaign. The team is a miserable 0-4 away from home in the BSL and ULEB Cup, losing its games by an average 10.8 points. Despite the dominating play of Jamie Arnold, Hajaj has proven to be the difference maker for Hapoel. The guard, who averaged 33 minutes, 12.5 points and seven assists in his team's last two wins in the competition, was extremely poor in his side's two losses in Europe, averaging just 16 minutes on court and scoring only 3.5 ppg. The outcome of the encounter against Strasbourg (2-3) in France could prove to be crucial to Hapoel's European aspirations. The four bottom sides in Group I have a 2-3 record and a Jerusalem loss will mean the team will face a tough battle to finish in the top three in the group and be assured of a place in the next round of the competition. Also Tuesday, Hapoel Galil Elyon (1-4) will have to defeat Swans Gmunden (2-3) to have any chance of advancing from Group E. Galil suffered a humiliating 20-point defeat to Swiss side Benetton Fribourg last week and has only managed a measly 73.6 ppg so far in European competition. Jerusalem, on the other hand, is one of the better scoring sides in the competition, hitting 61 percent from two-point range (second in the ULEB Cup) and 47 percent from beyond the arc (first in the competition). Hapoel edged Strasbourg 74-73 when the teams met earlier this season at the Malha Arena. The Frenchmen have since split their four games, winning at home and losing on the road. Derrick Obasohan, who scored 15 point in Jerusalem, leads the side with 13.2 ppg. Israeli Afik Nisim comes off the bench for Strasbourg, averaging 9.8 ppg and 2.2 rpg. Eddie Shannon ( 11.6 ppg, 4 apg) dictates the team's play from the backcourt, with Sanya Giffa (7.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and Rob Lewin (4.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg) the side's key players under the basket. The two will have to find a way to stop Arnold, who is scoring an unbelievable 77 percent from two point range. Galil Elyon, which has lost its last two ULEB Cup games by an average 22.5 points, will be seeking revenge against Swans Gmunden on Tuesday. The little-known Gmunden stunned Galil at Kfar Blum when the team's first met this season, but has dropped in the standings since, losing its last three games in the competition. Deteri Mayes ( 21.6 ppg) is by far Gmunden's best scorer and together with Ian Boylan (14.8 ppg, 6 apg) and Kevin Johnson (7.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg) makes up the cure of Austrians roster. Galil, which like Jerusalem is also still searching for its first road win of the season, will be carried by its big three once more on Tuesday. Clif Brown (18.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg), Gili Mosinzon ( 12.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg) and Mike Campbell (12.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg) will have to be at their very best for Hapoel to claim the win and remain in the running for the knockout stages of the ULEB Cup.