Jerusalem’s embarrassing Eurocup campaign continues
Hapoel Jerusalem basketball players visit the Mahane Yehuda open-air market.
(photo credit: OREN BEN HAKON)
Hapoel entered the game knowing it already had no chance of progressing to the round of 16, but still had plenty of pride to play for.
Hapoel Jerusalem is still without a win in the Eurocup Last 32 after losing 103- 94 at home to Avtodor Saratov of Russia on Wednesday.Hapoel entered the game knowing it already had no chance of progressing to the round of 16, but still had plenty of pride to play for. Nevertheless, it was humbled in the first quarter by Saratov, being outscored 38-25 over the opening 10 minutes. Jerusalem trailed by 12 points at the break (60-48), despite closing to within four points (43-39) at one stage. A 12-0 run in the fourth frame cut the deficit a single possession (91-88) with 3:39 minutes remaining.However, Rafi Menco missed an opportunity to tie the score in Hapoel’s next possession while Denys Lukashov connected from beyond the arc to snap the momentum and all but secure Saratov’s win, sending Jerusalem to a humbling 0-5 record.Menco led Jerusalem with 18 points, while Lior Eliyahu scored 17 and Josh Duncan added 15 points. Travis Peterson had 29 points for Saratov, which improved to 2-3. “I’m disappointed that we managed to fight back in the second half and build momentum, but couldn’t go on to win the game,” said Jerusalem coach Danny Franco. “We made mistakes we shouldn’t have and that is a shame. We went with our young players tonight and they repaid our faith in them. It is a shame we lost but we are looking ahead to the remainder of the BSL campaign.”Eliyahu wasn’t as diplomatic as his coach. “We have a lot of problems at the moment and we need to work hard and find a way to solve them,” he said. “We are going through a bad period and everyone knows that.We wanted to win for the club even though we knew this game was not important. We have one more Eurocup game in Gran Canaria next week and then we can fully focus on the BSL.”Maccabi Tel Aviv was also in Eurocup action on Wednesday, visiting Olimpija Ljubljana in a game which ended after press time.Regardless of Wednesday’s result, Maccabi’s Eurocup fate will be decided when it hosts Nizhny Novgorod at Yad Eliyahu Arena next week.Maccabi Rishon Lezion will face Ventspils of Latvia in the Europe Cup round of 16 after completing its round of 32 Group O games with a 98-85 win over Kataja in Finland on Wednesday.Rishon was hoping to end the group in first place and secure home-court advantage in the best-of-three last 16 tie, but had to settle for second position after ASVEL Basket Villeurbanne of France defeated Novo Mesto 67-51. Mark Lyons led Rishon with 23 points.