Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem kept its home record perfect in style with a dazzling win over powerhouse Unics Kazan on Tuesday night in Jerusalem. The 107-68 victory was Jerusalem's biggest ever in European history and improved the team's record to 2-1 in Group I. Hapoel is now tied with EiffelTowers Den Bosch and PGE Turow Zgorzelec for first place. Next week Jerusalem hosts Zadar. Kazan, which fell to 1-2, next hosts Turow. Hapoel took a double-digit lead already in the first quarter, but a series of big plays early in the second quarter capped a 16-0 run that put Hapoel on top 37-13 at an early stage. Timmy Bowers and Jaime Arnold, who combined for more points than the entire Unics team in the first half, continued their domination in the second to score almost half of Hapoel's points. Sharon Shason added some of his own lethal shooting throughout the game and finished the game with a five triples without a miss. Arnold led Hapoel with 28 points and 6 rebounds for a total ranking of 38. Bowers added 24 with 6 assists, while Shason scored 18 and Ramel Curry 11. Jerry McCullough led Unics with 18 points and Virgil Stanescu added 10.
After four close minutes the teams were tied at 8-8, but then Bowers scored 6 points to ignite a 10-2 local run and force Unics to take its first timeout in the game. Marcus Slaughter kept Hapoel's rim clean with a big block and later on showed his athleticism to give the locals their first double-digit lead, 20-10. Unics struggled to find the hot hand, and saw Hapoel finish the first quarter with a 23-13 lead behind 10 points by Bowers and 8 from 8 Arnold. Hapoel took over the game early in the second quarter. Arnold, Shason and Dror Hagag contributed a three-point play each to give their team a 32-13 lead and send Unics on another timeout. That didn't confuse Shason, who came back with another three to set Hapoel's run on 16-0, before Victor Keyru broke Unics's drought with a three of his own. Curry made it 42-18 and even when Unics found its leader, it didn't make a change. McCullough tried to make a difference, but Arnold and later Shason with another three-point play and a big assist to Bowers kept Hapoel's lead far north of 20. Bowers iced the cake with Hapoel's seventh three-point play of the quarter to set the halftime score at an unexpected 52-25, as Bowers and Arnold already combined for 32. The red party didn't stop there, as Arnold and Bowers continued to score at will, and when the former dished another assist for an Arnold dunk, Unics was down by already 63-32. Slaughter showed his skills under the rim and Bowers with a big dunk made it 69-36 as the red fans jumped to the sky, and saw their team enter the last quarter with a 73-43 lead. Hapoel didn't let go for one second and continued the celebration all the way till the very end. Yehu Orland's triple in the waning minutes saw the lead hit 43 before Unics made it just a little bit less in the last minute.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007